PRP has been used in surgeries to promote cell regeneration since 1987, and a growing body of evidence shows it is a viable treatment for tendinosis. Not until recently, though, have experts researched and debated whether or not platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are an effective treatment for osteoarthritis.
Nearly all of the research investigating the use of PRP to treat osteoarthritis has been done since 2000, and the vast majority of research articles on the topic have been published since 2010.
Not all studies support the use of PRP to treat osteoarthritis; however, experts who have reviewed the existing body of research believe the evidence is largely encouraging and merits further investigation.
Knee Osteoarthritis Treated with PRP
Researchers studying PRP and osteoarthritis often work with patients who have knee osteoarthritis, a condition that experts estimate will affect nearly half of all Americans at some point during their lives.19 Two clinical studies that examine PRP to treat knee arthritis are described below.
One study, published in 2013, involved 78 patients with osteoarthritis in both knees (156 knees).20 Each knee received one of three treatments: 1 PRP injection, 2 PRP injections, or 1 placebo saline injection. Researchers evaluated the subjects’ knees 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after injection. Researchers found:
Knees treated with 1 or 2 PRP injections saw a reduction in pain and stiffness as well as improvement in knee function at 6 weeks and 3 months.
At the 6-month mark positive results declined, though pain and function were still better than before PRP treatment.
The group that received placebo injections saw a small increase in pain and stiffness and adecrease in knee function.