Patient FAQ: Bone Marrow Aspirate (BMA)/Concentrated BMA

What is bone marrow aspirate (BMA)?

A clinician draws (or aspirates) bone marrow from a patient’s pelvis, specifically the iliac crest. This BMA is rich in certain cell types—for example, stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells—as well as platelets and growth factors. These cells and cell fragments all play an important role in the healing process.

What is concentrated BMA?

Bone marrow is commonly taken from the pelvis, but it may be taken from other sites as well. A sample of bone marrow is removed and then spun in a centrifuge to isolate and concentrate the stem cells, which creates concentrated bone marrow. The physician then delivers the concentrated bone marrow directly into the application site on your body.

What is concentrated BMA used to treat?  

Concentrated BMA is generally used in patients who have an area of moderate to significant tissue degeneration. The cells found in concentrated BMA have been shown to support repair or growth of bone, cartilage, muscle, marrow, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue.4,5,6,7 It’s important to know that results may vary. Ask your physician whether you may be a good candidate for this treatment.  

What is a BMA procedure like?

Your physician can obtain BMA in his or her office using local anesthesia. Other methods of obtaining these cells require surgery and are more invasive. The procedure includes several key steps, including the following:

  • The procedure will begin with cleaning, draping and anesthetizing your hip.
  • Once the area is numb, a needle is inserted into your pelvis to withdraw your marrow. Most commonly, just 30 mL to 60 mL is needed.
  • The bone marrow is placed in a centrifuge to concentrate the collection.
  • The concentrated BMA is delivered to the application site.

Unless you are undergoing surgery, this is generally an outpatient procedure.

How long does a BMA procedure take?

The procedure generally takes about one hour from start to finish. The bone marrow collection takes just a few minutes.

Is the procedure safe?

The use of concentrated BMA is a safe and clinically accepted procedure. Potential risks include bruising, pain at the aspiration site, excessive bleeding, infection and temporary numbness or weakness.

How can I find a physician who treats patients with concentrated BMA?

Click here to find a physician who offers concentrated BMA treatments.

Is a BMA procedure covered by insurance?

Please consult your insurance company to verify coverage. Every payer has different guidelines for reimbursement, but generally APC procedures are not reimbursed. There is reimbursement for some of the expenses associated with concentrated bone marrow  and concentrated adipose tissue procedures, but the physician or hospital must follow applicable coding and reimbursement guidelines from the payer. This means that some or all of the costs associated with the procedures using these autografts may need to be covered by the patient at the time of treatment.