Dr. Spain explains unique new treatment using bone marrow

November 10, 2016
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Dr. J. Keith Spain explains Regenerative Injection Therapy

Dr. J. Keith Spain of The Orthopaedic Group and Lenise Ligon of Fox10TV discuss a new bone marrow procedure that is holding promise for healing pain.

Bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BAMC) is made from fluid taken from bone marrow. The bone marrow aspirate contains stem cells that can help the healing of some bone and joint conditions. Bone marrow aspirate concentrate is obtained with a minimally invasive procedure that avoids the risks of an open bone graft procedure.

 It’s encouraging news for Bryan Johnson, who’s been having some trouble with his knee. “I’m a runner and basically my knees started hurting.  It was an on and off sort of thing, then it became more of an on thing, and got progressively worse,” Bryan Johnson explained.

For some people, suffering from medical problems like torn muscles, inflamed tendons, and degenerating joints, the cure might literally be within their bodies. Dr. James Keith Spain, with The Orthopaedic Group in Foley explains a unique treatment called, BMAC. “It stands for Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate and what we’re doing, is we’re taking your own adult growth factors, all those stem cells that are naturally in an adult bone marrow, and pulling those out to then get processed in the FDA approved centrifuge,” said Dr. James Keith Spain, The Orthopaedic Group.

BMAC is a procedure in which the doctor removes your own body’s bone marrow stem cells, concentrates them in an FDA approved device and injects them into the area(s) of injury (with ultrasound guidance) to ensure exact placement. The concentration of stem cells work directly at the site of injury, or degenerative tissue, to significantly increase the healing potential. The bone marrow is removed with a needle under anesthesia.  The process usually takes a few minutes. There might be some discomfort associated with the initial injection or local anesthetic.  Many patients find the local numbing agent helps.  Most people are able to return to work or school the best day.

It’s a unique treatment; so there’s only a limited number of facilities with physicians and the equipment to perform it.  Initially, Johnson was looking at a knee replacement and he’s only in his 40s.  After other treatments that only provided a few months of relief, he’s hoping the BMAC procedure will really do the trick. “Best case scenario would be to run again, with my issues I don’t know if that’s likely or not…but if I could prolong a knee replacement…for 10 years that would be awesome,” Johnson said.

Most insurance companies don’t cover the procedure because the treatment is considered investigational.