Stem Cell Injections – Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC)
What are stem cells?
Also known as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), these cells are active healing agents in the body. They have the ability to decrease inflammation and restore a healthier environment within a painful joint. They also recruit healing cells to a site of injury or pain and may form other cell types, including cartilage and bone.
Where do stem cells come from and how does a stem cell injection (BMAC) work?
Adult stem cells can be found in many places, including bone marrow, fat, and placental and umbilical cord tissue. Currently the most accepted area to collect and concentrate MSCs used for orthopedic applications is bone marrow from the iliac crest (“hip bone”). Bone marrow is removed from the hip bone using a simple procedure, and the bone marrow aspirate is then concentrated in a centrifuge. This is called bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC). Once concentrated, the final product is very similar to PRP but with the addition of stem cells.
How long does the stem cell injection procedure take?
On the same day your bone marrow is collected and concentrated, the product is then injected into the area of the body being treated under image guidance (ultrasound or X-ray). The total procedure time usually takes 45 to 60 minutes. The most common orthopedic condition treated with stem cells is osteoarthritis and painful joints.
Spinal discs allow your spine to bend and twist. These flexible shock absorbers can be damaged by injury, disease, or the added stress that can result from a spinal fusion. But stem cell therapy may help. It uses parts of your own blood to help repair disc damage. It can slow disc degeneration. It may help you avoid surgery.
Stem cell therapy takes advantage of the special healing quality of stem cells. These cells can help repair damage to discs and other tissues in the body. Stem cells are found in your bone marrow. Your doctor can use a special needle to take a small amount of marrow from your hip bone.
The doctor injects this mixture into your damaged disc. The injection triggers your body’s healing response. The stem cells multiply. They help rebuild tears and restore damaged parts of your disc.
After the procedure, you can go home. Your doctor will ask you to come back to the office several times to monitor the healing process.
Will my insurance cover it?
While some research has shown regenerative therapies, such as stem cell injections (BMAC), to be very helpful, they are currently not covered by most major medical insurance plans. But if your condition is a result of a work-related injury and is covered under worker’s compensation, you may be eligible for payment for some regenerative therapies. In addition, many patients are able to use their health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay for their treatment.
What are the costs?
The costs vary depending on what type of injection is right for you. A Patient Financial Services Representative can talk with you about the details. You can reach them at (651) 968–5050 for more pricing information.
We asked Amanda Feeney, DPT, OCS, a physical therapist at Summit Orthopedics, for her insights on how to create an ergonomic home office that’s friendly on your joints.