Platlet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection for Knee Arthritis

  1. There are many different manufacturers for this treatment and there is controversy over the best type of PRP injection and the frequency of the injections. These injections are not covered by insurance. There is a major need for good clinical studies on PRP treatments. In the platelet portion of the blood there are a number of potentially advantageous factors that decrease joint inflammation and block the abnormal chemicals produced with knee arthritis.  The PRP factors that are injected act in a major way to decrease the inflammation and block the action of harmful enzymes produced in the knee joint with knee arthritis.
  2. Some clinical studies show an added benefit of PRP injections in patients with knee arthritis that have failed other injections listed above. Unfortunately, other studies have shown no benefit to patients.  I advise patients that these injections are safe, and the process involves taking the patient’s own blood, spinning down the blood to obtain the platelet portion which is then injected into the knee joint similar to the other injections discussed above.
  3. There are major studies in progress at clinical research facilities in the USA that will help resolve some of the unknow issues surrounding PRP injections. Therefore, patients may choose  a PRP injection paying for it out of their own resources, hoping for a benefit.
  4. Other times, because insurance does not cover the fee, the patient will adopt a wait and see approach. The goal is to educate the patient on the plus and minus aspects of PRP injections and not to expect any overwhelming effects of this treatment.  Still from a positive note, the PRP injection may in certain patients provide a benefit over months in decreasing symptoms and delaying surgery. It is best with these newer treatments to have a complete transparency with the patient for informed consent and not to accept the over promotional and excess marketing in the media that often have overstated the benefits. There are no regeneration or direct repair effects of these injections.5

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