WHAT IS BONE MARROW?
Bone marrow is the soft spongy tissue that is found in the center of your bones. In adults, marrow in the large bones are the producing center of your red blood cells, white blood cells and plasma components. Since this is the location of production, immature forms of these cells, called stem cells, will be found here.
WHAT ARE BONE MARROW STEM CELLS?
The immature stem cells found inside the bone marrow have the potential to develop into various mature cells such as a muscle cell, the cells of a vessel, cells of a cartilage or even bone.
2 of the Main Stem Cells found in Bone Marrow include:
- Hematopoietic Stem Cells – give rise to the three classes of blood cells that are found in the circulation: white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. These are the cells that actually drive tissue regeneration and create supportive circulation.
- Mesenchymal Stem Cells – also known as Marrow Stromal Cells. These cells have the capacity to form osteoblasts or bone structure, chondrocytes or cartilage, and myocytes or Muscles.
IS THE PROCESS EXPERIMENTAL OR NEW?
Bone Marrow extractions have been conducted for quite some time now and used in fields such as oncology and hematology. The vital components in Bone Marrow was initially used for transplant purposes in those immune-deficient, such as in blood cancers. The skill of extracting has not changed but the Donor is YOURSELF and the recipient is YOURSELF preventing any rejection or allergic reactions.
ARE THERE ANY RISK?
Bone marrow extractions are safe procedures when conducted by a trained professional in a sterile environment. Complications are rare but can include:
- Bleeding, particularly in patients with a low platelet count or clotting disorder.
- Infection, in patients with weakened immune systems. Antibiotics may be given post extraction to prevent infection.
THE HEALING PROCESS
Bone Marrow stem cells are the regenerative cells responsible for repair and rebuild damaged tissue. The concentrated cells accelerate the healing process, promotes strength, pain relief and improve overall function. The healing cascade can be active and take place over a 4-6 week period. A follow up PRP booster may be recommended if the desired results are not met.
HOW LONG IS THE PROCEDURE?
Treatment is in an outpatient setting. Actual extraction can take as little as 10 minutes but the complete procedure will take a bit longer. Typically, patients are done within an hour.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
The area of extraction is locally numbed so no pain is felt. Bone Marrow is extracted from the back of a patient’s pelvis or hip bone from an area called the posterior iliac crest. A suctioned syringe attached to a needle is used to reach the posterior aspect of the hip, during which minimal discomfort is felt due to local anesthetic.
The collected sample is transferred through a filter then placed into a centrifuge for spinning. Spinning at a high speed separates the platelets and stem cells from the bone marrow sample. This concentration of stem cells and healing components are collectively known as the bone marrow concentrate and once isolated they are reintroduced to the injured area through a needle.
HOW LONG IS RECOVERY TIME?
The majority of patients are able to return to usual activities 1-2 days but some pain may be felt for up to 1 week.