The first American study that positions Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) as a viable means in managing knee osteoarthritis, appeared today in the December issue of the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (AJPMR). The study, authored by Dr. Steven Sampson of the Orthohealing Center in Los Angeles, details the account of 14 patients with primary and secondary knee osteoarthritis receiving three platelet-rich plasma injections in the affected knee at 4-week intervals with one year follow up. The study demonstrated significant and almost linear improvements in pain and function with majority of the patients expressing favorable outcomes at 12-months after the PRP treatment. The American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading provider of information and business intelligence for students, professionals, and institutions in medicine, nursing, allied health, and pharmacy.
"PRP is no longer a treatment that only benefits high-profile athletes," states Dr. Sampson, "The positive effects of this therapy are quickly spreading into many areas of mainstream medicine." Dr. Sampson further explains, "This pilot study sets the foundation for a large multi-center clinical trial to further demonstrate if PRP is safe and effective for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis." Dr. Sampson adds, "We are facing an epidemic with patients suffering from arthritis at earlier ages. Unfortunately most conservative options are limited and address the symptoms of inflammation, rather than address the biochemical process of the disease."
PRP is a non-surgical healing treatment used in many fields including plastic surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, and dentistry. Blood is made up of primarily red and white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Each of these components has a specific role, for example white blood cells fight off infection. Platelets are known to release powerful healing proteins called "growth factors" that coordinate repair and regeneration of soft tissue. By spinning the blood in a machine called a centrifuge, doctors are able to isolate out the platelets, increasing their concentration up to 1000%. Then these growth factors are injected under ultrasound guidance directly into the injury to stimulate healing. Using cutting edge technology, doctors are able to guide the platelets within a millimeter of the target site for maximal benefit. Based on current research, soft tissue injuries are the most responsive to PRP. This includes tendon and ligament injuries, and muscle tears. Because of a growing need for non-surgical treatments for arthritis, PRP has been applied to osteoarthritis of joints throughout the body.
The implications from this study invite the need for a large-scale research effort to further position PRP as a strong candidate in managing osteoarthritis.
American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation