What is Bone Marrow Aspirate Therapy (BMA)? BMA therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that Dr. Naftulin performs in an out-patient setting. Bone marrow aspirate is directly obtained from a bone called the iliac crest (hip). Bone marrow aspirate contains many cells including MSCs (aka “stem cells”) which can form new cells such as bone, cartilage and muscle so that healing and pain relief can occur.
A special needle is used to gather or aspirate the bone marrow which also contains platelets, growth factors and other natural substances important to the healing process. The freshly aspirated bone marrow is then injected into the problematic area to stimulate healing.
I have heard of cortisone injections, is it the same thing? – No. Cortisone shots may provide temporary pain relief but do not promote long term healing. Also, cortisone has definite adverse effects including negative impact on bone and other tissues, and increased blood sugars in diabetics.In contrast, Bone Marrow Aspirate injection Therapy is used to promote healing of the target tissues such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage or discs.
Bone Marrow Stem Cell Therapy is used to promote healing of the target tissues such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage or discs.
Does insurance pay for BMA Injections? – No. Despite several publications and peer reviewed journals showing the efficacy of BMA, it is not covered by insurance at this time. Comparable to many prescribed medications and treatments, these procedures are not FDA approved for these musculoskeletal conditions such as tennis elbow, disc degeneration or osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, orthobiologics have shown great promise in effectively treating these difficult-to-treat, painful and disabling conditions.
How long does it take to “work”? – Many patients will notice some level of improvement within 2-6 weeks. However, the full benefits of decreased pain and an associated improvement in function may take 3 – 6 months.
How many injections will I need? Are there other orthobiologic options? – We expect only to perform one BMA stem cell injection. Other options include PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections which are sometimes repeated depending upon the patient’s clinical response.