Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC): What Is It and When Is It Used?

Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC): What Is It and When Is It Used?

Knee injuries are the most common cause of joint pain in the United States, causing some 4 million cases per year, according to The American Association of Family Physicians. Joint pain is more than just irritating — it can impact your quality of life by interrupting good times with persistent discomfort. 

At Victory Sports Medicine & Orthopedics in Skaneateles, New York, Marc Pietropaoli, MD, frequently treats patients suffering from knee pain. Instead of simply addressing the symptom, as many people will do until they can find a provider like Dr. Pietropaoli, he assesses and tests your knee, keeping you abreast of effective, minimally invasive treatments, like BMAC. 

What is BMAC?

BMAC is an acronym for Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate. As the name indicates, it’s sourced from bone marrow. Similar to the way that PRP, or platelet-rich plasma works, bone marrow is extracted from the source, after which, it is tested for its potency, and processed for its intended use.

BMAC is relatively new, with its earliest use occurring around 2003. Its first use was treating hip issues related to the femoral head. The femoral head is the highest point of the thigh bone that rests in its own place in your hip bone, or pelvic bone. 

BMAC is created from bone marrow carefully harvested by Dr. Pietropaoli. If BMAC is determined to be an appropriate treatment for you, you will be scheduled for an appointment at a time and date that works for you and Dr. Pietropaoli. 

When you come in for your appointment, Dr. Pietropaoli makes sure you’re comfortable, and lays you flat on a medical table. A local anesthetic/numbing medication is utilized over the harvest site.

After the area is numb, Dr. Pietropaoli uses a specialized bone marrow concentrating needle to remove a portion of the soft tissue that lives inside of the thick, tough pelvic bone. Bone marrow is responsible for producing the red blood cells that transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, but it also has stem cells and cells that help those stem cells in it.

The sample removed from your hip contains a number of different biological materials, including blood cells, platelets, and most importantly, stem cells and growth factors. The stem cells and growth factor are what make the rest of the mixture powerful enough to treat your pain. After the material is extracted by the proprietary specialized bone marrow concentrating needle that Dr. Pietropaoli utilizes, it is already concentrated and ready for injection into the knee or other joint, tendon, ligament, etc. that needs repair or regeneration. With the specialized needle/system that Dr. Pietropaoli utilizes, there is no need to remove the bone marrow cells aspirate from the sterile field and put it into a centrifuge machine that can damage some of the cells and risk contamination.

While the procedure might sound intimidating to those who live with a fear of needles, Dr. Pietropaoli will do his best to make sure that you are comfortable and at ease. 

The procedure is generally considered low-risk, with rare instances of bleeding, bruising, infection, and unresolved pain at the extraction site. The most commonly reported side effect of the procedure is mild bruising at the site, which usually clears within a few short days to weeks.

How is BMAC used?

After the specialized needle concentrates the components of your bone marrow, Dr. Pietropaoli the sterile collecting syringe and a smaller needle to implant the BMAC in the pained areas of your knee. BMAC can be used to treat: 

The benefits of BMAC treatment is focused on healing knee pain, but it may be used to treat many other joint and body part ssues. Though how BMAC works isn’t fully understood, it’s effectiveness in treating knee pain, including diseases that attack the knee. 

What are the big risks of BMAC?

There may be bigger risks related to skipping treatment than there are working with Dr. Pietropaoli. As common as knee pain is, it can always get worse, no matter the cause. This can have serious implications for your mobility later in life, and treating your pain is protecting your longevity, as well as your ability to walk, run, and reach the cereal box on the top shelf. 

If you’ve been experiencing knee pain, whether or not you know the cause, Dr. Pietropaoli would like to see you. Call us today at 315-303-8352, or book an appointment with us online. 

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