PURPOSE: To investigate the available literature on the use of bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) and summarize the current evidence supporting its potential for the injective treatment of joints affected by osteoarthritis (OA).
METHODS: A systematic literature search was conducted on three electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library) in April 2020, using the following string: "((bone marrow concentrate) OR (BMC) OR (bone marrow aspirate concentrate) OR (BMAC)) AND (osteoarthritis)", and inclusion criteria: clinical and preclinical (animal) studies of any level of evidence, written in English language, and evaluating the intra-articular or subchondral use of BMAC for the injective treatment of OA joints.
RESULTS: The publication trend remarkably increased over time. A total of 22 studies were included in the qualitative data synthesis: four preclinical studies and 18 clinical studies, for a total number of 4626 patients. Safety was documented by all studies, with a low number of adverse events. An overall improvement in pain and function was documented in most of the studies, but the clinical studies present significant heterogeneity, few patients, short-term follow-up, and overall poor methodology.
CONCLUSION: There is a growing interest in the field of BMAC injections for the treatment of OA, with promising results in preclinical and clinical studies in terms of safety and effectiveness. Nevertheless, the current knowledge is still preliminary. Preclinical research is still needed to optimize BMAC use, as well as high-level large controlled trials to better understand the real potential of BMAC injections for the treatment of patients affected by OA.
- Bone marrow concentrate