Kanchanatawan, W, Arirachakaran, A, Chaikenkij, K, Prasathaporn, N, Boonard, M, Piyapittayanun, P, and Kongtharvonskul, J 2016, ‘Short-term outcomes of platelet-rich plasma injection for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee’, Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 1665-1677.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that is particularly common in the knees of elderly people. It involves progressive stiffness and inflammation of the joints, eventually developing growths called spurs which can cause further joint damage. Effective treatment of this condition aims to alleviate pain, improve total knee function, increase quality of life and reduce disability.
Growth factors are important for maintenance of normal tissue structure and tissue damage repair. Biological therapies such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are rich in growth factors. PRP is an innovative treatment using the body’s natural healing process to accelerate and enhance healing. PRP is derived from your own blood hence it is an effective and safe way of treating pain and joint dysfunction caused by knee OA. PRP is an alternative to drugs such as narcotic analgesic, cortisol or hyaluronic acid.
This analysis, conducted in 2016, compared nine studies and analysed PRP, placebo (saline) and hyaluronic acid (HA) injections in treating OA of the knee. Pain, joint stiffness and function were the main outcomes analysed in patients.
Across a majority of the studies PRP injections had significantly greater functional outcomes than HA, saline and placebo. PRP was shown to be more effective than HA and placebo in reducing symptoms of pain and joint stiffness, improving function and quality of life. PRP has the potential to be the treatment of choice for patients with mild-to-moderate knee OA.