Platelet rich plasma has shown itself to be a promising regenerative medicine treatment in the world of pain management and orthopedics. Prior to gaining popularity over the last few years in these areas, PRP has been used extensively for decades in urology, cardiovascular medicine, ophthalmology and wound care.
While studies on PRP have shown its effectiveness for soft tissue injuries such as tendinitis and ligament injury, new research is showing its effectiveness for treating osteoarthritis.
In a new study, researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery looked at 22 patients with moderate knee arthritis and pain. Each patient received one injection of platelet rich plasma with a volume 6 mm.
The PRP is obtained by a simple blood draw in the office. Whole blood is placed into test tubes and spun quickly in a centrifuge machine for about six minutes. The result is separated blood that has a top layer that is used for the PRP. It contains a lot of concentrated platelets along with a significant amount of growth factors.
In the study, PRP was injected into the painful knee and then pain scores and functional activity was followed for a year. In addition, pre-injection MRIs and post injection MRIs were evaluated to look at the amount of cartilage in the knee. Previous studies have shown that those with moderate knee arthritis typically lose 4 to 6% of their knee cartilage every year.
The outcomes in this study were very impressive. Pain scores reduced substantially at every time point look at during the year. In addition, functional scores increased significantly as well.
The MRIs showed that in three fourths of the patients, there was no difference between the amount of cartilage before the injection and afterwards. This was a amazing finding as the hope is that PRP injections preserve the existing cartilage and hopefully grow additional amounts.
In a previous cow study, PRP injections into their knees did show increase in cartilage formation along with an influx of stem cells into the area. That is one thing that PRP has been able to do is call in large amounts of stem cells into the area being treated.
The study was very exciting. It was a pilot study evaluating small numbers of patients being treated with regenerative medicine platelet rich plasma, and showed excellent results. Hopefully a larger study will reproduce these findings, which will cement PRP’s status as a true low risk, effective arthritis treatment.
Pain management clinics in Los Angeles offer platelet rich plasma therapy along with pain medication management and interventional pain treatments such as epidural injections and radiofrequency ablation. The California Pain Network connects those in pain with the best pain management Los Angeles has to offer.
Call today (310) 626-1526 for more information and scheduling!