In our office or surgery center, the doctor will harvest bone marrow aspirate from the iliac crest (pelvic/hip bone).
With a special needle called a Jamshidi needle, the doctor withdraws bone marrow aspirate from an area of your pelvis that has been locally numbed. There may be some brief discomfort as the inside of the bone cannot be numbed, but most patients describe the aspiration sensation as strange rather than painful. The doctor will apply a bandage to the injection site to stop any bleeding.
Next, if you’re using bone marrow aspirate from your iliac crest, your collected blood is spun in a centrifuge for about 15 minutes. This separates the stem cells and platelets from the rest of the sample, resulting in “concentrated” bone marrow or BMC.
Finally, the resulting preparation of concentrated stem cell blood is re-injected into the injured area. The cells go to work right away, lowering inflammation in the short-term and beginning the process of tissue repair over the longer term. If the target area is small and difficult to reach with a needle, the doctor may use ultrasound or x-ray guidance to ensure the BMC is delivered to the precise location of your pain. Most patients notice significant improvement between two and six weeks later, although each patient’s healing and recovery time is different.