Variability in the Preparation, Reporting, and Use of Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate in Musculoskeletal Disorders: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Orthopaedic Literature

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Abstract

Background:

Interest in the therapeutic potential of bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) has grown exponentially. However, comparisons among studies and their processing methods are challenging because of inconsistent reporting of protocols, as well as poor characterization of the composition of the initial bone marrow aspirate and of the final products delivered. The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic review of the literature to evaluate the level of reporting related to the protocols used for BMAC preparation and the composition of BMAC utilized in the treatment of musculoskeletal diseases in published clinical studies.

Methods:

A systematic review of the literature was performed by searching PubMed, MEDLINE, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1980 to 2016. Inclusion criteria were human clinical trials, English language, and manuscripts that reported on the use of BMAC in musculoskeletal conditions.

Results:

After a comprehensive review of the 986 identified articles, 46 articles met the inclusion criteria for analysis. No study provided comprehensive reporting that included a clear description of the preparation protocol that could be used by subsequent investigators to repeat the method. Only 14 (30%) of the studies provided quantitative metrics of the composition of the BMAC final product.

Conclusions:

The reporting of BMAC preparation protocols in clinical studies was highly inconsistent and studies did not provide sufficient information to allow the protocol to be reproduced. Moreover, comparison of the efficacy and yield of BMAC products is precluded by deficiencies in the reporting of preparation methods and composition. Future studies should contain standardized and stepwise descriptions of the BMAC preparation protocol, and the composition of the BMAC delivered, to permit validating and rationally optimizing the role of BMAC in musculoskeletal care.

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