People often have questions about how stem cells are gathered, and want to know exactly where the cells come from. Dr. Kenneth Pettine and his colleagues have worked with many patients who have benefited from stem cell injections, and one of the most common ways to gather the cells is through bone marrow aspiration. While this may sound like a painful procedure, it’s actually relatively simple and safe, and is frequently completed with local anesthetic. If you’re considering stem cell treatment, it’s important to understand the aspiration process.

dreamstime_xxl_11971725A Plentiful Reservoir of Mesenchymal Cells

Your bone marrow is a plentiful reservoir of mesenchymal stem cells, especially the marrow located in your pelvis. Cells can be aspirated from other sites in the body, but the pelvis is the most plentiful and often the least painful place from which to gather the cells. A doctor will use a needle to aspirate the cells (usually a small amount – approximately two ounces), which is then concentrated in a medical centrifuge. The centrifuge concentrates the aspirated cells and makes them ready to inject into the injured site, be it the knee, hip, shoulder, or another area. The entire process takes about five to 10 minutes, and the pelvic bone isn’t weakened in any way. The aspirated marrow will regenerate itself in about a week’s time, and if you experience pain or discomfort at the aspiration site, ice or a mild pain reliever should help.

Why Use Your Own Bone Marrow?

Many patients wonder about the benefits of using your own bone marrow to gather stem cells, rather than donor cells. There are many questions regarding the safety and sterility of donor cells, and there can be the risk of your body rejecting the cells taken from another person. There are also Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations surrounding donor stem cells, making it more difficult to obtain the classifications needed to transfer the cells from one person to another. The FDA is responsible for the “safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices,” and donor stem cells have a ways to go before they meet the proper standards.

Your own cells are most beneficial because they are taken from your own bone marrow. The risk of rejection is much lower, and you are literally harnessing your body’s own healing power to repair an injury. Adult stem cells from your own body can provide the best opportunity for healing and restoration, and Dr. Pettine wants you to have that opportunity.

Bone marrow aspiration and stem cell therapy can provide the resources you need to recover more quickly from an injury, return to the game you love, or simply live a better life. If you have questions or want to learn more, please look through the rest of our site, or contact Dr. Pettine to discuss your treatment options. Stem cells have helped many people find the perfect alternative to traditional orthopedic surgery, and if that’s something that interests you, aspiration may be the way to go.