Marrow, the spongy tissue inside large bones, has liquid and solid components. Analysis of bone marrow gives valuable and detailed information about your blood. Extracting the liquid portion of the bone marrow is called aspiration, while a sample of the solid portion is a biopsy.
A range of conditions could require bone marrow aspiration for investigation and diagnosis. In addition, techniques that support your body’s own healing powers use stem cells harvested through bone marrow aspiration. Here, Franz Jones, DO, explains the process and how you can benefit from stem cell therapy.
Reasons for bone marrow aspiration
A blood test may suggest certain conditions or abnormalities of your bone marrow, and an aspiration provides a direct look at the marrow itself, advancing the diagnosis of a disease or other condition. Aspirations are also used during cancer treatment to check for the spread of cancer to the bones.
However, a contemporary use of bone marrow aspiration is as a harvesting technique for stem cells. Much of the controversy around stem cells centers around the sources for harvest. Dr. Jones uses autologous stem cells, tissue that’s harvested from your own body. And to do that, he uses bone marrow aspiration.
Not only does this bypass ethical concerns, but there’s also no risk of rejection or other complications because the stem cells are naturally biocompatible with your system.
A source for stem cells
While stem cells are found throughout your body, bone marrow provides one of the richest sources, accessible from several bones in your body. The iliac crest of the pelvic bone is a common harvest site, an easy location for aspiration.
Bone marrow fluid is then processed to separate and concentrate its components, resulting in an extract rich with stem cells, platelets, and growth factors.
The benefits of stem cell therapy
Given Dr. Jones’ focus on pain management and sports medicine, he turns to stem cells to treat a range of conditions ranging from arthritis to sports injuries.
Ligaments, tendons, and cartilage generally receive limited blood supply, so stem cells and other nutrients delivered through harvest and injection bolster the site of an injury with the raw materials of healing. Strained and torn muscles heal faster with stem cell therapy, and you may benefit when you have pain in your neck, back, or joints.
What to expect from aspiration
You may have some soreness at the harvest and treatment sites for a few days after bone marrow aspiration and stem cell treatment. The discomfort is usually well-tolerated and easy to control with over-the-counter pain medication.
Your results often depend on your condition. Recent injuries tend to respond quickly while chronic conditions may need a series of stem cell treatments and several months before you feel the benefits.
To learn more about bone marrow aspiration and stem cell therapy, schedule a consultation with Dr. Jones and his team. Contact the closest of our three locations by phone or online to book an appointment today.