What is BMC?
- BMC stands for Bone Marrow concentrate, which makes use of regenerative components found in a patient's own bone marrow.
- Bone marrow is a spongy tissue found in the hollow of long bones. It is a rich reservoir of new blood cells and stem cells.
- It is popular in the treatment of osteoarthritis and ligament injuries, and is now being explored for chronic low back pain.
- It is an FDA-approved, non-surgical procedure that is a less invasive and less costly option compared to surgery.
How does it work?
- About 40-50% of chronic low back pain is thought to be from the intervertebral discs in the spine. The pain arises when the nerves in the outer portion of the disc are irritated, which then signal the brain to trigger a pain response.
- Intradiscal BMC works to alleviate this discogenic pain. BMC, which is rich in stem cells, can help repair the worn out, damaged disc.
- Using a local anesthetic, the patient's bone marrow is drawn from the hip bone and placed in a centrifuge, which separates the regenerative cells and the platelets from the rest of the bone marrow aspirate.
- The doctor then injects the BMC into the space surrounding the damaged disc under fluoroscopic guidance.
When is BMC recommended?
BMC is recommended for patients suffering from debilitating chronic lower back pain where conservative management options such as activity restriction, medications, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment and steroid injections have failed, and surgery is the only option. It has also been used for Degenerative Disc Dis-ease (DDD).
What are the costs?
Although approved by the FDA, BMC is a relatively new therapy and is not covered by most insurance companies, to which costs can vary up to $4900—$5500. However, payment plans are available.
What are the results?
Research has demonstrated the regenerative potential of bone marrow stem cells, when injected into other areas of the body. Animal studies show that when BMC is injected into a disc, it differentiates into the cells that normally make up the disc. Another ongoing study shows encouraging results with BMC Therapy for patients with degenerated discs. Hence, BMC is an exciting new treatment option that patients with chronic low back pain might want to consider.