Alan M. Hirahara, MD, FRCSC
Orthopaedic SurgeonSpecialist in Sports Medicine

An MRI Analysis of the Pelvis to Determine Ideal Method for Ultrasound-Guided Bone Marrow Aspiration from the Iliac Crest

Alan M. Hirahara, Alberto J. Panero, Wyatt J. Andersen
American Journal of Orthopedics
DOI: 10.12788/ajo.2018.0038
PMID: 29883505

May 7th 2018

Use of mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow has gained significant popularity. The iliac crest has been determined to be an effective site for harvesting mesenchymal stem cells. Review of the literature reveals that multiple techniques are used to harvest bone marrow aspirate from the iliac crest, but the descriptions are based on the experience of various authors as opposed to studied anatomy. A safe, reliable, and reproducible method for aspiration has yet to be studied and described. We hypothesized that there would be an ideal angle and distance for aspiration that would be the safest, most consistent, and most reliable. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we reviewed 26 total lumbar spine MRI scans (13 males, 13 females) and found that an angle of 24° should be used when entering the most medial aspect of the posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS) and that this angle did not differ between the sexes. The distance that the trocar can advance after entry before hitting the anterior ilium wall varied significantly between males and females, being 7.53 cm in males and 6.74 cm in females. In addition, the size of the PSIS table was significantly different between males and females (1.20 cm and 0.96 cm, respectively). No other significant differences in the measurements gathered were found. Using the data gleaned from this study, we developed an aspiration technique. This method uses ultrasound to determine the location of the PSIS and the entry point on the PSIS. This contrasts with most techniques that use landmark palpation, which is known to be unreliable and inaccurate. The described technique for aspiration from the PSIS is safe, reliable, reproducible, and substantiated by data.