Bone marrow concentrate, or BMC, therapy is being studied for its uses in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Tears of the meniscus, for instance, are of great interest due to the lack of blood supply to meniscal tissue. BMC injections deliver immature cells that differentiate into cells that can potentially rebuild various types of tissue. A 2012 study examined the effects of BMC on meniscal tear healing. The study found that BMC injections increased healing of full-thickness meniscus tears in sheep models.
BMC therapy derives its self-healing abilities from an autologous (same patient) bone marrow sample. Bone marrow-derived cells can mature into cells that create cartilage, bone and other important musculoskeletal fibers. By taking a bone marrow sample and centrifuging it to separate out the desired cells, doctors can place tissue-repairing substances directly into a damaged joint. The knee’s meniscus tissue lacks the blood supply of bone or muscle. Tears, therefore, do not heal quickly; BMC injections deliver badly needed regenerative cells to the area.
The above-mentioned 2012 study examined the effects of BMC on meniscal tears in sheep subjects. The experimental group received a BMC injection into the damaged meniscus site, while the control group received no intervention. Results showed that the sheep injected with BMC experienced higher cell counts, cartilage plaque formations and neovascularizations (increased blood flow) than the control group. Researchers concluded that BMC improves meniscal tear healing.
The Orthohealing Center, a full-service Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation center in Los Angeles, California, utilizes BMC to manage a variety of musculoskeletal disorders. More human studies are needed to determine which patients are ideal candidates for BMC, other non-surgical therapies and surgery. The Orthohealing Center patients are experiencing encouraging meniscal tear and knee osteoarthritis results due to BMC injection therapy.