Preliminary results of autologous adipose-derived stem cells in early knee osteoarthritis: identification of a sub-population with greater response

December 13, 2019


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.


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.


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.


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.