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Bone Marrow Aspirate (BMA) Injections

What is BMA and how does it work?
Bone marrow aspirate (BMA) is a procedure in which the doctor harvests your body’s own bone marrow stem cells and injects them into the area(s) of injury. These injected stem cells work directly at the site of injury or degenerative tissue to greatly increase healing potential.

A bone marrow aspirate is typically done by taking a small amount of bone marrow from the back of your pelvis. First, the area is thoroughly numbed with local anesthetic. Then, a special needle is used to draw out the bone marrow. The cells are then injected into the area that needs healing using ultrasound guidance to improve the accuracy of placement.

Ultimately, the goal of this method is to utilize the body’s own natural ability to heal itself and in doing so, achieve the highest level of function.


What are the benefits of BMA therapy?
BMA therapy is a low-risk, non-invasive treatment that can be used to treat orthopaedic conditions such as cartilage, bone, tendon, and ligament injuries anywhere in the body. It also benefits people who are not candidates for surgery or would simply like to avoid surgery.

Other benefits include:

  • Rapid pain relief and healing
  • Regeneration of healthy tissues
  • Less risk of complications than surgery
  • Minimal recovery time
  • No incision or scarring


What conditions is BMA used to treat?
Many soft tissue injuries and degenerative conditions of muscle, tendon, ligament, joints, bone and nerves can be treated with this therapy.
More specifically, this therapy can be used to treat:

  • Osteoarthritis in a joint
  • Osteochondral defect (damaged cartilage or bone within a joint)
  • Muscle, tendon, or ligament tear
  • Labral injuries of the shoulder and hip
 

How is BMA delivered to the injured area?
BMA is injected into the injured area through the use of ultrasound guidance.


Am I a candidate for this treatment?
Only you and your doctor can decide if BMA is right for you. If you would like to avoid surgery and obtain long-lasting pain improvement, we encourage you to discuss this option with your doctor.


Will my insurance cover this procedure?
Despite extensive research and several publications showing the effectiveness of this therapy, insurance companies still consider this treatment to be experimental and will not cover any costs associated with the condition.


What should I expect?
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure will typically take up to an hour.

Will the injections be painful?
Patients experience different degrees of discomfort or pain after receiving the injection ofbone marrow aspirate. The injection site may be painful for the first several days.

How long until I can resume activity?
Patients are typically able to resume normal daily activities within 2-3 days post-treatment and are usually able to resume exercise 1-2 weeks after treatment. However, if your activity is painful, stop. Your doctor may also prescribe a pain relief medication and in most cases, a 4-6 week physical therapy course as well.

How many treatments will it take to heal my injury and how far apart are the treatments?
The average patient requires one to two treatments. Treatments are typically spaced 3 to 4 months apart.

Will I be able to go to work/school after treatment?
Patients are typically able to resume normal daily activities within a day or two post-treatment .

When do I start to feel better or see results?
Though this can vary from person to person, patients generally report improvement in their pain as soon as one to four weeks post-treatment. Even more noticeable improvements can be seen as soon as 12 weeks post-treatment.

How long is the healing process?
The entire healing process takes anywhere from 9-12 months, but patients generally report less pain and increased mobility within 4-6 weeks.

Are there any adverse effects?
Aside from some expected post-treatment discomfort, some patients will also experience a low grade fever, swelling of the injection site, body aches, and fatigue for the first 72 hours after treatment (known as the inflammatory phase). Patient-specific post-treatment expectations will be discussed with each individual at both the initial consult as well as at the time of treatment. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call.


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