Background: Intra-articular injection of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) has shown promise for improving symptoms and cartilage quality in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA). However, while most preclinical studies have been performed with plastic-adherent ASCs, most clinical trials are being conducted with the stromal vascular fraction (SVF), prepared from adipose tissue without prior culture. Purpose: To directly compare clinical outcomes of intra-articular injection with ASCs or SVF in patients with knee OA. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: The authors retrospectively compared 6-month outcomes in 42 patients (59 knees) receiving intra-articular injection with 12.75 million ASCs and 38 patients (69 knees) receiving a 5-mL preparation of SVF. All patients had Kellgren-Lawrence grade 2, 3, or 4 knee OA and had failed standard medical therapy. The visual analog scale (VAS) pain score and Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) at baseline and 1, 3, and 6 months after injection were considered as outcomes. Outcome Measures in Rheumatology–Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OMERACT-OARSI) criteria were also used to assess positive response. A repeated measures analysis of variance was used for comparison between the treatment groups. Results: No major complications occurred in either group. The SVF group had a higher frequency of knee effusion (SVF 8%, ASC 2%) and minor complications related to the fat harvest site (SVF 34%, ASC 5%). Both groups reported improvements in pain VAS and KOOS domains. Specifically, in the ASC group, symptoms improved earlier (by 3 months; P <.05) and pain VAS decreased to a greater degree (55%; P <.05) compared with the SVF group (44%). The proportion of OMERACT-OARSI responders in the ASC group was slightly higher (ASCs, 61%; SVF, 55%; P =.25). Conclusion: It was observed that both ASCs and SVF resulted in clinical improvement in patients with knee OA, but that ASCs outperform SVF in the early reduction of symptoms and pain with less comorbidity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation