Phillipe Hernigou and Bluetail data showing bone marrow success in treating knee arthritis

Bone Marrow Can Improve Knee Pain, Function, and Stiffness in the Treatment of Knee Arthritis



You may find yourself facing total knee replacement and you are looking for other treatment options.  New presentations at this year’s major Orthobiologic confernce, TOBI 201, have examined outcomes of treatment using Bone Marrow and given encouraging results!

Dr. Kristen Oliver is a good friend, and long time member of Bluetail Medical. She has treated knee arthritis with bone marrow since at least 2006 and along with Dr. Phillipe Hernigou, at this year’s premier Orthobiologic conference gave us  promising updates on new ways to treat knee arthritis pain.


First some background. Knee Arthritis is painful, limits activity, limits mobility, affects daily living, and affects 75% of people age 75 and over, and many younger patients as well. Knee Arthritis is a major cause of disability in the United States.



For the last few decades, the treatment of knee arthritis has followed a specific protocol, ending in Total Knee Replacement, an irreversible surgery that leaves many in pain and causes many more long periods to recover. The AARP has published information suggesting that one in three patients is left in Chronic Pain after Knee Replacement.

Doctors who deal with patients after total knee replacement are aware of these poor outcomes. Though some patients do quite well, many do not.  Any patient with significant knee pain and arthritis on x-ray knows the standard treatment regimen:

  • rest
  • therapy
  • nsaids
  • bracing
  • injections, like steroid and hyaluronic acid injections

AND….if you fail the above:


This lack of effective treatment options, combined with less than ideal outcomes in knee replacement, has led to the study of newer, less conventional methods of treatment. This includes options not approved by the FDA, nor covered by insurance, but options that have legitimate scientific basis for use and which are being used and studied around the world. Organizations like TOBI (The Orthobiologic Institute) have taken it upon themselves to make physicians aware of progress in this realm.  This year’s TOBI had encouraging information presented about the use of  BONE MARROW, (the patient’s own cells) to treat knee arthritis. Two of the most well known and exciting presenters were Dr. Kristin Oliver, and Dr. Phillipe Hernigou, with both presenting data that BMC may help relieve arthritis pain and function.

Dr. Hernigou, a French orthopedic surgeon who does over 200 total knee replacements yearly, has spent his last two decades studying other treatment options for knee arthritis, including the use of bone marrow concentrate (BMC). Previously, he had published many papers including a 2018 study on the use of bone marrow to treat knee arthritis.

In his discussion this year, Dr. Hernigou presented new information which was accepted for publication in the International Journal of Orthopedics in April 2020. This was a study that looked at 140 adults, all with serious knee arthritis in both knees and all aged 65-90. These patients agreed to have one knee replaced, and the other treated with BMC. The knees were randomized, then the patients treated and followed for 15 years.

Of 140 patients, 21 required revisions of the knee they had replaced. There were loosenings, two fractures, five patella fractures, and two patients who required anesthesia for mobilizations. Twenty five of the 140 patients chose to have Total knee surgery on the cell therapy knee knee (this was a similar percentage of more surgery to those who required repeat surgery on the operative knee). Not only did the BMC knees overall NOT convert to surgery, they also had slightly less pain and more improvement than the Knee which was replaced. Better pain relief in a  Non-Surgery knee in patients followed for 15 years. This is remarkable information and information that strongly suggests the use of BMC to treat knee arthritis is a very reasonable option.

Dr. Oliver, presented data on the use of BMC here in the U.S. to treat knee arthritis. She had good outcomes with improved mobility, function and less pain, in a treatment with few complications.

Using WOMAC scoring to quantify, she showed that patients could find pain relief from knee arthritis using BMC.  She also showed that there were few complications.








If you are facing knee replacement surgery you may want to consider other treatment options.

At Southcoast, our goal is to help you find the best treatment option for you, and provide it in

the simplest, safest, most professional manner possible. We believe options like PRP and BMC

are worth consideration.

If you need more information, contact us or look up the cited studies.

843 990 8390