First in man: Sternal reconstruction with autologous stem cells

Zain Khalpey, Katherine M. Marsh, Alice Ferng, Irbaz Bin Riaz, Courtney Hemphill, Kitsie Johnson, Isabel Oliva, Mark Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Sternal nonunion is associated with high morbidity and treated using rigid plate and screw fixation. This is the first reported example of successful sternal reconstruction using adipose-derived stromal vascular fraction (SVF) stem cells in addition to traditional techniques. Mesenchymal stem cells, one component of the SVF, play an important role in bone healing and were therefore used to promote remedial processes in a patient with sternal nonunion. A 3D printed model of the patient's sternum was used for preoperative planning of the plating. Intraoperatively, SVF was isolated using ultrasonic cavitation and previously planned sternal plating was completed. A total of 300 million cells were delivered via both local injection and intravenously before chest closure. The patient's pain dramatically decreased, commensurate with healed areas of nonunion by 3 months and maintained at 6 months postoperatively, supported by three-dimensional computed tomography imaging. Utilizing autologous stem cells from the SVF in conjunction with existing plating techniques may provide an optimal platform to stabilize the sternum and promote bone healing, although additional study is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e31-e32
JournalASAIO Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • ASC
  • adipose-derived stromal vascular stem cells
  • autologous stem cells
  • hADSCs
  • human adipose-derived stem cells
  • sternal reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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