Fat Derived vs. Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cells

While stem cell treatments have, in the past, commonly used stem cells sourced from bone marrow, there is no evidence to date suggesting that adult mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow offer more benefits over those derived from fat in terms of clinical results. In fact, several recent studies have shown that fat derived cells are actually better at making bone tissue than are bone marrow derived cells. Studies comparing these two sources are ongoing and sometimes show different and contradicting outcomes. 

A common misconception is the belief that, because stem cells from marrow are derived from an orthopaedic source, that they must be better for treating orthopedic conditions such as cartilage regeneration. This is false. In fact, the bone marrow is part of the reticulo-endothelial system (which makes blood cells). Both bone marrow derived and stromal (taken from adipose tissue, also known as fat) derived stem cells are effective for regenerative therapy and both have the potential to differentiate into mature functional cartilage.

Stem cells derived from fat are thousands of times more plentiful than stem cells derived from bone marrow. This makes same-day procedures using fat derived stem cells possible and also enables us to deploy significantly more stem cells into the area of concern and throughout the body.  These higher numbers of stem cells made available by using fat can lead to better clinical outcomes.

An additional advantage of using fat derived stem cells is that the quality of these cells do not diminish with age. In contrast, the quality of bone marrow does decline with age, which offers a lower number of stem cells and less healthy stem cells the older a person becomes. It is well documented that the quantity and quality of bone marrow cells diminish with age and chronic illness.

A further advantage of using adipose-derived stem cells is that removing fat from under the skin using a mini-liposuction procedure under local anesthetic is much less invasive than bone marrow aspiration and patients are comfortable throughout the entire extraction procedure.  In contrast, bone marrow aspiration to obtain bone marrow cells is invasive and typically a very painful experience for patients.

Unlike fat-derived stem cells using our proprietary system, there is NO safety data on the intravenous use of bone marrow derived cells. The Cell Surgical Network® affiliates have clinical records and safety data (American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery Mar 2017) on the intravenous use of adipose-derived stem cells in over 1500 patients. Studies have shown that clinical outcomes using stem cell therapy in orthopaedic conditions such as joint pain are optimized by using both injection into the joint and intravenous deployment.  This is because these cells are programmed to go to wherever they are needed including soft tissue, other parts of the joint and even other joints. In our network’s experience of over 6000 patients, a joint injection alone is insufficient and will not generate the optimal outcome possible by using both joint injection and intravenous deployment. This is what sets us apart from other clinics offering only direct injection deployment treatment therapies.