PRP Treatment for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Conservative methods of managing Knee Pain caused by Osteoarthritis (OA) include Anti-inflammatories, Physical Therapy, Cortisone Injections, and Surgery. In the past decade, researchers have assessed whether Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections can be utilized to manage OA of the Knee.

Growth Factors inhabit platelets in your blood. Platelet Rich Plasma works under the approach that injecting Growth Factors from the blood into an injured area will trigger new tissues to form. That is supposed to reduce inflammation in the tissue. When Growth Factors interact with local cells, they signal them to initiate cell division and migration. This promotes tissue formation.

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Platelet Rich Plasma Efficacy

Regardless of its use, there has been conflicting proof regarding the efficacy of Platelet Rich Plasma in treating Osteoarthritis of the Knee. A recent study published in The Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research from 2017 assessed 14 randomized controlled trials with a total of 1,423 participants. It revealed that Platelet Rich Plasma appears to be effective in managing Knee OA pain. Researchers observed that, compared with placeboes, Platelet Rich Plasma Injections substantially reduced pain scores at 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-ups. And compared with controls, Platelet Rich Plasma substantially improved physical function at these follow-ups. The study did not observe a substantial improvement in post-injection adverse events.

Although the outcome is encouraging, 10 of the 14 studies were at high risk of bias and 4 were at moderate risk of bias. More studies are necessary to determine the effectiveness of utilizing Platelet Rich Plasma to manage pain from Osteoarthritis of the Knee.

Who is an ideal candidate for Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?

You might be a good candidate for Platelet Rich Plasma if your symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Knee are not manageable through conservative methods such as Anti-inflammatories, Cortisone Injections, and Physical Therapy.

PRP Injections are deemed experimental. As such, they might not be covered by insurance. It also means that there is limited research regarding the safety and effectiveness of this treatment. Work closely with your doctor before beginning any experimental treatments.

How to prepare for Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy

Ask your doctor what you should do or avoid doing before the therapy. Follow your doctor’s guidelines. You will probably need to:

  • Avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications 7 days before to PRP.
  • Have an MRI of your knee, so your doctor can ascertain the degree of damage.
  • Arrange to use crutches up to 2 days after the PRP Injection.
  • Have someone drive you home.

Also contact your insurance provider prior to the procedure to ask if they will cover any of the expenses. Since this is considered an experimental procedure, your insurance provider might not provide any coverage. Be mindful of the costs in advance, so that you aren’t surprised. If your insurance provider won’t cover the costs, or if you are uninsured, talk to your doctor about creating a payment plan.

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy

As part of Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, your doctor will draw blood from your arm. Then, he will place the blood sample into a centrifuge for 15 minutes. The centrifuge will separate your blood into:

  • Red blood cells
  • White blood cells
  • Plasma
  • Platelets

Your doctor will use that sample to extract PRP. He will numb your knee and inject the RPR into the area. You’ll then rest about 15 minutes before being discharged.

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy takes about 1 hour.

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Aftercare

Immediately following the procedure, ice your knee every 2 to 3 hours for 20 minutes at a time. Continue this regimen for 3 days. You might also need to take pain medication if you experience significant pain. You should limit your physical activity and avoid activities that put weight on your knee. Your doctor might recommend using crutches for a couple of days to keep weight off of your knee.

Follow up with your physician 6 to 8 weeks after the procedure to assess the effectiveness. You can discuss possible next steps, as well.

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy Risks

PRP utilizes your own blood, so there’s a low risk of complications; however, there are some rare risks, including:

  • Local infection.
  • Pain at the injection site.
  • Nerve damage, namely at the injection site.

Ask your doctor about symptoms that resemble these complications and ask what to do if you notice anything unusual.

Platelet Rich Plasma is a moderately low-pain, low-risk procedure that utilizes your own blood to encourage growth in injured tissues. Current evidence proposes that Platelet Rich Plasma may be a beneficial treatment in managing pain associated with Knee Osteoarthritis; however, in-depth research is necessary to demonstrate the advantages. You can utilize Platelet Rich Plasma with other pain management methods for Knee OA. Please note that insurance companies differ regarding coverage for Platelet Rich Plasma Injections.

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