Preliminary results of autologous adipose-derived stem cells in early knee osteoarthritis: identification of a subpopulation with greater response
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to report the clinical and functional results of a series of patients with early knee osteoarthritis (KOA) treated with the intra-articular injection of autologous adipose-derived stem cells (aASCs) plus arthroscopic debridement. The hypothesis was that protocol would significantly improve the clinical and functional outcomes in patients with early KOA.
Methods: Fifty-two patients with early KOA, who received arthroscopic debridement followed by percutaneous injection of aASCs, were enrolled into the study and retrospectively analyzed with an average follow-up of 15.3 (range, 6 to 24) months. Patients were assessed through the IKS knee and function scores and VAS pain scale.
Results: The mean IKS knee score improved from 37.4 (range, 14 to 79) points pre-operatively to 62.6 (range, 27 to 95) points at the latest follow-up (p < < 0.01). The mean IKS function score improved from 57.2 (range, 25 to 100) points pre-operatively to 83.0 (range, 35 to 100) points at the latest follow-up (p < < 0.01). The mean VAS score decreased from 8.5 (range, 3 to 10) pre-operatively to 5.1 (range, 0 to 8) at the latest follow-up (p < < 0.01). Additionally, patients with a pre-operative VAS score greater than 8 were found to show greater clinical and functional benefits compared with patients with VAS score lower than 8.
Conclusions: The knee injection of aASCs associated to arthroscopic debridement increased significantly the clinical and functional scores in patients with early KOA at a mid-term follow-up, especially those with higher pre-operative VAS scores.