Role of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injection in knee arthritis

Role of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injection in Knee Arthritis

Knee Osteoarthritis (or simple arthritis) is a age related degenerative joint condition in which cartilage wears away slowly leading to knee pain.
PRP injection is proving out to be a safe and effective treatment option in knee arthritis. PRP is extracted from patients blood only and is used to treat damaged tissues (cartilage) in patient’s knees.

Early trials are shown promising results specially if used for grade 2 or grade 3 arthritis. Its usefulness is under investigation for grade 4 arthritis at present. Grade 4 arthritis mostly requires knee replacement surgery.  

Injecting platelet-rich plasma (PRP)  in arthritic knee is emerging as a  novel treatment option for managing pain due to knee arthritis. 

The mechanism of action for PRP is based on the fact that platelets in human blood contain growth factors helping in cartilage regeneration. Thus by injecting PRP , these growth factors help in repairing damaged cartilage of knee due arthritis (osteoarthritis). These growth factors help in tissue repair by causing new cells to form (cartilage cells) thus reversing the existing tissue damage.

A major study done in  2017 which reviewed 1,423 patients with osteoarthritis knee showed positive result with PRP injection. This study showed PRP injections significantly reduced the pain in knee arthritis. In long term this reduced pain improves the function of patient thus quality of life. 
It is worthwhile here to note that , while many studies recommend PRP use in knee arthritis, few studies recommend further detailed investigations required to estimate its exact usefulness. 

The entire process of PRP injection is a day care procedure. Firectly the doctor will draw a small amount of blood from patient’s arm/leg. Extracting PRP from blood takes around 1.5 hours. The injection process  takes around 10 minutes for intra-articular administration of PRP into knee joint. But after injection patient is kept in hospital for 1 hour for observation. Patient is back to home in 4 hours altogether. 

At home patient is expected to put ice over knee for 20 minutes thrice daily for 3 days. Mild analgesics are required for 3 days. Normally, no antibiotics are required. Knee exercises are avoided for 5 days. 

Since PRP injection uses patients own blood, chances of infection are very less. Some rare complications with PRP injections are local skin infections, pain at injection site and increased stiffness for few days. 
After 5 days of injection we start the patient on knee exercises and get back to active life. 

PRP injection can be repeated twice or thrice at a gap of 2 weeks for best results. 

PRP injection is a hope for knee Arthritis patients as it gives them a possible future which is pain free, medicine free  and full of activities. PRP knee injection in selected individuals , gives a positive result along with weight reduction and regular exercises.