In a new study from Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic Repair, the world’s first level I, randomized, double blinded, multi-center trial comparing Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection for knee osteoarthritis to a traditional injection viscosupplementation or hyaluronic acid (HA).
Investigators studied 176 patients with knee osteoarthritis and found superior benefits in the PRP group that maintained those benefits for at least 6 months. While the HA group improved as well those benefits were less significant and diminished over time by the 6 mo follow up. Because of the continued benefit of PRP, researchers propose that PRP may have beneficial biological effects on cartilage. This research confirms our clinical experience noting superior benefits of PRP versus Viscosupplementation that requires repeated series of injections every 6mo for temporary relief. The lubricant HA injections are a better alternative however to cortisone that may ultimately promote cartilage destruction while temporarily relieving symptoms.
This study shows that we have come a long way since our pilot trial of PRP for knee osteoarthritis was published in November of 2010. We are now able to demonstrate what we have been seeing in clinic for six years now that PRP has shown benefit for patients with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis. Each month numerous studies are adding to our understanding of PRP & biologic medicine so the international community can learn from one another.