Reporting Standards in Clinical Studies Evaluating Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate: A Systematic Review

Iain Murray, Patrick G Robinson, Christopher C West, Ewan B Goudie, Li Y. Yong, Timothy O White, Robert F LaPrade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: To perform a systematic review of clinical studies evaluating bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) in the treatment of musculoskeletal pathology to compare levels of reporting with recently published minimum standards.

METHODS: A systematic review of the clinical literature from August 2002 to August 2017 was performed. Human clinical studies published in English and involving the administration of BMAC for musculoskeletal applications were included. Studies evaluating non-concentrated preparations of bone marrow aspirate or preparations of laboratory cultured cells were excluded. Studies evaluating the treatment of dental or maxillofacial conditions were excluded. Similarly, in vitro studies, editorials, letters to the editor, and reviews were excluded. Levels of reporting were compared with previously published minimum standards agreed on through an international Delphi consensus process.

RESULTS: Of 1,580 studies identified on the initial search, 46 satisfied the criteria for inclusion. Considerable deficiencies in reporting of key variables including the details of BMAC preparation and composition were noted. Studies reported information on only 42% (range, 25%-60%) of the variables included within established minimum reporting standards. No study provided adequate information to enable the precise replication of preparation protocols and accurate characterization of the BMAC formulation delivered.

CONCLUSIONS: We found that all existing clinical studies in the literature evaluating BMAC for orthopaedic or sports medicine applications are limited by inadequate reporting of both preparation protocols and composition. Deficient reporting of the variables that may critically influence outcomes precludes interpretation, prevents other researchers from reproducing experimental conditions, and makes comparisons across studies difficult. We encourage the adoption of emerging minimum reporting standards for clinical studies evaluating the use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopaedics.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV, systematic review of Level I through IV studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopy and Related Surgery
Early online date23 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jan 2018


  • Journal Article
  • Review

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