Orthobiologics – Bone Marrow Aspirate

(Frequently Referred to as “Stem Cell”)

Dr. Naftulin and Dr. Zhang, and the NERA Northeastern Rehabilitation Associates / Specialty Spine Care are pleased to announce a new, cutting edge procedure we are offering to our patients, Bone Marrow Aspirate (BMA) Therapy. This revolutionary orthobiologic therapy uses the body’s own cells to facilitate a healing response and is a drug-free alternative to other treatments including surgery.

BMA is a Medication-Free, Non-Surgical Treatment for People Suffering From:

  • Lumbar Disc Degeneration
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rotator Cuff Tears
  • Ligament Injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Muscle Sprains and Strains
  • Non-Healing Fractures
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Sports Injuries

Benefits of this Orthobiologic Treatment & Therapy Include:

  • Decreased Pain
  • Quicker recovery time
  • Alternative procedure to surgical intervention
  • Increased healing potential
  • May eliminate the need for long term medication
  • Avoiding repeated steroid injections

Frequently Asked Questions

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.


Patients with the following conditions are not candidates for this procedure: platelet dysfunction syndrome, critical thrombocytopenia, septicemia, infection, fever, recently received cortisone injection (within 1 month) and bone cancer.

Pre-Procedure Protocol:

Patients need to discontinue use of NSAIDS 7 – 14 days prior to the procedure. Do not stop other blood thinners unless directed by your physician.

Post Procedure Protocol:

You will need to have someone drive you home after the procedure. You may be given an analgesic prescription and in most cases a 4 – 6 week physical therapy course is prescribed. Most individuals can return to pre-procedural activities within 72 hours. The length of time to return to athletic activities averages anywhere from 2 – 4 weeks.

Please Schedule a Doctors Visit at the Lehigh Valley – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania treatment center.

New Patients, please complete the New Patient and Insurance Verification Form

Bring the forms to the office completed and speed up your visit along with your recovery!

Ask Dr. Naftulin if BMA Therapy is Right For You!