Clinical Study Shows BMC Effective in Treating ACL Tears

Patients With ACL Tears Now Have a Non-Surgical Option with a Faster Recovery

Is it necessary to get surgery for a torn ACL? A clinical study on patients with ACL tears shows that bone marrow concentrate (BMC) procedures are a promising alternative. The ideal patient for a BMC procedure is a patient with a grade one, two, or mild grade three ACL tear, who would slightly alter their lifestyle to accommodate their injured knee. While a college football player with a severe grade three ACL tear might require surgery, a similar athlete with a lesser grade 3, grade 2 or grade 1 ACL tear might be able to avoid surgery altogether.

What is an ACL Tear?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is located in the knee and connects the femur to the tibia (1). It is possible for this piece of connective tissue to strain or tear, especially during quick-paced sports that require sudden movements and changes in direction of movement.

There are different levels, or “grades” of ACL tears, ascending in number and severity. A grade one ACL tear means that the ligament has been over-stretched, a grade two indicates a stretched and partially torn ligament, and in a grade three ACL tear, the ACL is entirely torn in two parts (1).

ACL Tears in the US

A torn ACL is a quite common injury in the United States, with an estimated number of 100,000-200,000 incidents occurring annually (1). An ACL tear is a non-contact injury that can happen to any person of any age, but due to the nature of the injury (often a sharp, sudden movement) ACL tears are common in young athletes. However, this does not mean that active older adults are exempt from the injury. The question that remains is what type of treatment is suitable for which type of ACL tear. (6)

BMC Procedure

A bone marrow concentrate (BMC) procedure is a non-surgical procedure in which a bone marrow sample is extracted from a patient and then re-injected into the patient’s injured area in order to help improve the healing of a wound or injury (8). Bone marrow contains stem cells, which are “undifferentiated” cells that are held in reserve and can become a different type of tissue (8). These stem cells are the main portion of the BMC that has a maximum regenerative effect. When the bone marrow concentrate is re-injected into the patient’s body, the stem cells can create new tissue and help repair damaged tissues, such as a torn ACL (8).

Clinical Study – BMC for ACL Tears

A study published in 2018 in the Journal of Translational Medicine found BMC treatment to be promising for patients suffering from ACL tears (5). The study was open to patients above the age of fifteen with ACL tears ranging from grade one, two, and even three, providing that the patients with grade three tears had <1 cm of retraction (the pieces of the ripped ligament pulling away from each other) (5). Grade three ACL tears with retraction >1 cm are very severe and would likely require surgery to heal (7).

Ultimately 29 patients ranging from ages 15 to 65 with ACL tears received BMC injections consisting of bone marrow aspirate that was extracted from the patient’s own body on the same day of the procedure (5). Here is a summary of their results:

  • 23 of the 29 patients had grades two and three ACL tears; ultimately only five decided to undergo surgery, and only one patient who did not receive surgery suffered a re-tear (once they returned to sports) (5).
  • Mean last-reported SANE scores* were as follows:
    • 93% improvement among 6 Grade 1 ACL Tear patients
    • 74% improvement among 13 Grade 2 ACL Tear patients
    • 69% improvement among 10 Grade 3 ACL Tear patients

*Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation, SANE, asks patients to assign what percentage difference have you seen in your condition, compared to your condition before the procedure.

Overall, the improvement in pain and function and low re-tear rate for the patients who received BMC treatment for ACL tears shows a promising non-surgical treatment option for those suffering from a torn ACL (5).

Recovery Time, BMC vs. Surgery for ACL

Recovery after surgery for an ACL tear is a long process – the patient can’t move much in the first one to two weeks post-surgery, and they’ll have to walk on crutches until about 2-3 weeks after surgery (9). In weeks 6-24 of recovery, the patient will have to gradually return to more active activities as they and their doctor see fit (9).

In the clinical study examining BMC treatment for ACL tears, the MRI images taken of patients’ knees showed a gradual healing progression from the time of the treatment up to 11 months after the initial treatment (5). The pain rating scores which patients ascribed to their pain showed improvement even at one and three months after treatment.  Patients continued to improve from 3-36 months post-treatment (5).

ACL Patient Outcomes Among All US Regenexx Patients

Regenexx keeps a database of procedure outcomes from all of its member clinics. Patients who receive the Regenexx-SD bone marrow concentrate procedure for ACL tears report that their overall joint function improves drastically in the first 6 months after treatment (10). After that, the positive progress continues more gradually up to three years after the treatment (10).

 

See Regenexx Patient Outcomes Data here.

To find out if you’re a candidate for the Regenexx Perc ACL-R SD BMC procedure–Tap the “TALK TO AN EXPERT” BUTTON below.

SOURCES:

  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16576-acl-anterior-cruciate-ligament-tears
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acl-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20350738
  3. https://centenoschultz.com/acl-tear-treatment-without-surgery-our-new-publication/
  4. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/acl-injury-or-tear#:~:text=Grade%203%20ACL%20tears%20happen,stability%20to%20the%20knee%20joint
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6122476/
  6. https://www.verywellhealth.com/acl-tears-and-surgical-treatment-in-people-over-40-years-of-age-4173986
  7. https://www.drotisdrew.com/blog/do-all-acl-tears-require-surgery#:~:text=ACL%20injuries%20can%20either%20be,or%20tear%20in%20a%20ligament).
  8. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/21077-bone-marrow-concentrate-bmc#:~:text=The%20first%20step%20in%20producing,sedation%20or%20with%20general%20anesthesia.
  9. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/knee-ligament-surgery/recovery/#:~:text=After%202%20to%203%20weeks,swimming%20for%20fitness%20and%20cycling.
  10. https://regenexxpittsburgh.com/patient-outcome-data/

 

About The Author
Dr. Paul Lieber

Dr. Paul Lieber

Dr. Paul Lieber

Dr. Paul Lieber

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Knee

Regenexx® Procedures are non-surgical injection treatments that are intended to help reduce pain and improve function for those who are suffering from pain due to common injuries, arthritis, and overuse conditions. View Details About Knee Treatments >

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Meniscus Tears
  • Patellofemoral
  • Syndrome/Chondomalacia
  • ACL Tears + PCL, LCL & MCL Tears & Sprains
  • Patellar Tendonitis
  • Pes anersine bursitis
  • Baker’s cyst
  • Instability
  • Hamstrings Tendinopathy & Biceps Femoris Insertional Tendinopathy

Lower Spine

Regenexx® Procedures are non-surgical injection treatments that are intended to help reduce pain and improve function for those who are suffering from pain due to common injuries, arthritis, and overuse conditions. View Details About Spine Treatments >

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Lumbar Facet Injury
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Herniated or Bulging Disc
  • Radiculopathy (pinched nerve)
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Many More Disc and Low Back Issues

Foot & Ankle

Regenexx® Procedures are non-surgical injection treatments that are intended to help reduce pain and improve function for those who are suffering from pain due to common injuries, arthritis, and overuse conditions. View Details About Foot & Ankle Treatments >

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Ankle Instability
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Peroneal tendon tear or split
  • Ligament sprain or tear
  • Sub-talar arthritis or instability
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Bunions

Cervical Spine

Regenexx® Procedures are non-surgical injection treatments that are intended to help reduce pain and improve function for those who are suffering from pain due to common injuries, arthritis, and overuse conditions. View Details About Spine Treatments >

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Cervical Instability
  • Cervical Facet Injury
  • Neck, Back or Rib Instability
  • Many More Disc and Cervical Issues Causing Pain

Shoulder

Regenexx® Procedures are non-surgical injection treatments that are intended to help reduce pain and improve function for those who are suffering from pain due to common injuries, arthritis, and overuse conditions. View Details About Shoulder Treatments >

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Arthritis of the shoulder joint
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Labral tears or degeneration
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis & tendonosis
  • AC Joint Separation
  • Recurrent shoulder dislocations

Elbow

Regenexx® Procedures are non-surgical injection treatments that are intended to help reduce pain and improve function for those who are suffering from pain due to common injuries, arthritis, and overuse conditions. View Details About Elbow Treatments >

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Instability
  • Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow
  • Nerve entrapment (ulnar nerve)

Hip

Regenexx® Procedures are non-surgical injection treatments that are intended to help reduce pain and improve function for those who are suffering from pain due to common injuries, arthritis, and overuse conditions. View Details About Hip Treatments >

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Bursitis
  • Tendinopathy
  • Labral / Labrum Tear

Hand & Wrist

Regenexx® Procedures are non-surgical injection treatments that are intended to help reduce pain and improve function for those who are suffering from pain due to common injuries, arthritis, and overuse conditions.

View Details About Hand & Wrist Treatments >

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Hand Arthritis
  • Basal Joint Arthritis or CMC / Carpometacarpal
  • Arthritis
  • Instability
  • TFCC Tear
  • Carpal Tunnel SyndromeTrigger Finger