What Is Bone Marrow Aspiration?
A bone marrow aspiration (BMA) is a procedure carried out to collect bone marrow, a soft sponge-like tissue which is rich in stem cells and naturally replenished by the body. A bone marrow aspiration is often understandably confused with a bone marrow biopsy, which is a more invasive and painful procedure that removes bone with the bone marrow for testing.
The Bone Marrow Aspiration Procedure
We harvest bone marrow from the patient’s iliac crest, (the largest of the bones which form the hip bone), or more specifically, the hip’s posterior superior iliac crest. While there are other bone marrow aspiration sites, our physicians exclusively draw from the hip because it is a bountiful source of bone marrow.
During the procedure, the patient is positioned prone (lying face down). They are attached to a cardiac monitor to assess blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen saturation throughout the procedure. In addition, the patient is provided supplemental oxygen by a lightweight nasal canal tube in their nostrils. This ensures adequate airflow as some patients have difficulty remaining in the prone position.
(In the image above you can see Regenexx Cayman physician, Dr. Friedlis, performing a bone marrow aspiration procedure on one of his patients.)
The patients’ low back is thoroughly aseptically cleaned and draped with sterile towels. After which the Regenexx physician will use a local anesthetic, lidocaine, and ropivacaine, to numb the overlying skin as well as the deeper tissues towards the hip bones. Once the tissues are anesthetized, the physician will use a special needle to access the area. They carefully extract the bone marrow from three to four different sites per hip. Regenexx Cayman uses multiple bone marrow aspiration sites in the hip for harvesting bone marrow to maximize stem cell yield.
After extraction, the physician will remove the needle and simultaneously apply pressure bandages to the access site. The bone marrow aspirate samples are immediately transferred into a sterile container and labeled with both the patient name and date of birth and delivered to our laboratory for processing, directly from the procedure room. (We have built the biggest clean room laboratory in the Caribbean, outfitted with advanced lab technology and equipment, to help ensure the utmost safety and sterility of our patients’ stem cells.)
Once the procedure is completed, the patient is accompanied by a nurse to the recovery room for light refreshments and provided with discharge instructions.
A BMA procedure typically takes 20 to 40 minutes. All patients are provided with a guide of what to expect during and after the bone marrow aspiration at the time of scheduling their appointment. Regenexx Cayman has a dedicated team of staff – including nurses, radiographers, clinical care, and a Regenexx physician, for each patient, during every procedure, to ensure seamless, supportive care.
Why Would You Have A Bone Marrow Aspiration?
Here at Regenexx Cayman, patients undergo a BMA to extract mesenchymal stem cells. The stem cells are then cultured, providing stem cell growth up to 1,000 times the number of cells originally extracted. (This is 1,000 times more stem cells than any U.S. procedure!)
Regenexx Cayman is the exclusive provider of Regenexx-C, the most advanced orthopedic stem cell procedure in the world and the Regenexx Cryopreservation service, proactive stem cell storage for future use. We are the only Regenexx provider to offer the full suite of Regenexx procedures.
Is The Procedure Painful?
Most patients report minimal discomfort during the bone marrow aspiration procedure, describing a sensation of pressure. In fact, eighty percent of patients report the Regenexx BMA as comfortable. If you are considering Regenexx treatment but would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact our Patient Care team with any questions you might have.