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Br Med Bull. 2017 Dec 1;124(1):31-54. doi: 10.1093/bmb/ldx030.

Adipose-derived stem cells in orthopaedic pathologies.

Author information

Foot and Ankle Unit, IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi, Milan, Italy.
Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche per la Salute, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy.
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Azienda Ospedaliera San Giovanni di Dio e Ruggi d'Aragona, University of Salerno, Italy.
Queen Mary University of London, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Mile End Hospital, London, UK.



To examine the current literature regarding the clinical application of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) for the management of orthopaedic pathologies.

Sources of data:

MEDLINE,SCOPUS, CINAHL and EMBASE (1950 to April 14, 2017) were searched by two independent investigators for articles published in English. Reviews, meta-analyses, expert opinions, case reports, mini case series and editorials were excluded. Furthermore, we excluded animal studies, cadaveric studies and in vitro studies.

Areas of agreement:

ADSCs seem to produce excellent clinical results. However, the length and modalities of follow-up in the different conditions are extremely variable. Nevertheless, it appears that the use of adipose-derived stem cells is associated with subjective and objective clinical improvements and minimal complication rates.

Areas of controversy:

None of the studies identified is a randomized double-blinded trial, and most of the selected studies present major limitations, and different methods, confounding the results of our review.

Growing points:

It is necessary to conduct more and better studies to ascertain whether ADSCs really play a role in orthopaedic surgery with particular attention to ADSCs harvesting method, type of administration and the conditions treated.

Areas timely for developing research:

The current literature regarding the use of ADSCs for orthopaedic pathologies is limited. At present, long-term safety is the biggest challenge of ADSCs based regenerative medicine.

Level of evidence:

Level IV-Study of Level I, II, III, IV.


PRP; adipose-derived stem cells; injection; mesenchymal stem cells; regenerative medicine; scaffold; stromal vascular fraction

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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