Adipose Autologous Stem Cell Therapy vs. Bone Marrow

Adipose Autologous Stem Cell Therapy vs. Bone Marrow

By Farhan Malik, MD
Atlanta Innovative Medicine

When researching a regenerative procedure, patients may decide they want a procedure using their own tissue. This is called receiving an “autologous” procedure, which means the tissue comes from the patient himself/herself.

Atlanta Innovative Medicine offers patients autologous adipose stem cell therapy. This article focuses on the question we hear a lot: “I want to use my own tissue, would it be better with adipose or bone marrow?”

First of all, let’s clarify where the tissue is coming from. Adipose is the medical term for fat tissue, and doctors obtain it from a patient’s abdominal area or from the flank area just above the buttocks. The harvesting procedure involves taking out about 60cc’s of fat, so patients do get the benefit of a slight liposuction too.

During a bone marrow stem cell procedure, the tissue is obtained from an area known as the iliac crest which is close to the hip area in the pelvis. A large needle is placed into the bone using a small hammer, and about 60cc’s of bone marrow tissue is withdrawn.

When it comes to which patient’s tissue is superior for regenerative procedures, the answer is simple – ADIPOSE. Here are the top 5 reasons why:

  1. Amount of stem cells: Unlike a person’s bone marrow tissue, the amount of stem cells in adipose does not decrease with age (Dufrane et al. 2017). Adipose tissue contains millions of stem cells per cc harvested. This is not the case with bone marrow, where the amount of stem cells present decreases over 100 times by the age of 50. Why would you undergo a procedure where a stem cell has become a needle in a haystack?
  2. Activity of stem cells: Studies are very clear on this. When bone marrow is used, not only do the numbers of stem cells decrease significantly with age, but the activity of those cells does as well. Not so with adipose derived stem cells. They maintain substantial proliferation and differentiation capacities, meaning they are able to replicate and turn into cells the body needs for regeneration much better than those from bone marrow.
  3. Less Invasive: The adipose harvesting procedure is extremely well tolerated. The procedure is routinely performed in office, and the numbing medicine allows for minimal pain. This is in contrast to a bone marrow aspiration, where one large study showed significant procedural pain in 86% of patients. (JPSM 2003). Unfortunately, pain after a bone marrow aspiration often continues for weeks to months.
  4. Yield: If your goal is to have several joints treated, or possibly a joint along with an aesthetics procedure, then an adipose procedure will allow you to do that. But not bone marrow. There just isn’t enough of a “yield” to allow for that.
  5. Outcomes: Autologous adipose stem cell therapy has repeatedly shown amazing outcomes for chronic joint pain (Regen Med 2019). In addition, adipose harvesting produces excellent outcomes as well for aesthetic procedures including hair restoration (Current Stem Cell Research Therapy 2017), facial rejuvenation (Journal Cosmetic & Laser 2018) along with erectile dysfunction (Sex Med Rev 2019).


Atlanta Innovative Medicine serves the Atlanta metro area including Marietta, Sandy Springs, Roswell, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Smyrna and surrounding areas with autologous adipose stem cell therapy.

The Atlanta stem cell providers are highly experienced, and AIM offers substantial additional services including physical therapy, chiropractic, PRP therapy, prolotherapy and supplements too. The treatment options are individualized for each patient.

Why is this important? Because while stem cell therapy provides a substantial amount of regenerative cells to problem areas, activating those cells optimally is another story. The Board Certified providers at AIM understand this. As a result of the combination therapy offered, stem cell treatment at the practice offers patients the best opportunity for improvement. 

To schedule an appointment with our experienced stem cell doctors, call our clinic today at 770.416.9995.


Are you a candidate for Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative medicine can be an effective therapy and treatment option for lasting pain relief for a variety of conditions like osteoarthritis of the knee, hip or shoulder; ACL or meniscus tears; tennis or golfer’s elbow; chronic neck and back pain; and more.

Is it right for you and your condition? Take 1 minute to answer a few “yes or no” questions that help to assess if you might be a candidate for PRP, stem cell or other nonsurgical regenerative treatments.

Are You a Stem Cell Candidate for Your Joint or Spine Damage?

Are you a candidate for Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?

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