Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Family Medicine


Laura Witte, Ph.D., PA-C


This literature review aims to evaluate platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as an option for treating mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis (KOA). Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of disability in older people, and the most common site of OA development is the knee. The ideal treatment option would be a minimally invasive intervention to slow or halt the condition before reaching a level of severity that warrants the definitive major surgery, joint replacement. Historically, treatment options have been little more than palliative care as OA progresses toward the inevitability of joint replacement. Theoretically, the science of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) intra-articular (IA) injections appear to address this degenerative process with favorable promise. For the first few years of PRP’s existence, the question of efficacy for KOA treatment has not been answered definitively. The increased number and quality of studies have shown PRP to be largely equal to other treatment options for KOA. In several studies, PRP was markedly superior in subjective pain scores as well as decreasing the number of joint replacements for KOA in those treated with PRP IA injections. Considering the ubiquitous and growing prevalence of KOA, the clinical relevance of these findings is pertinent to every provider who treats KOA. PRP IA knee injection is a relatively simple procedure that can be performed in an outpatient setting. The evidence for PRP’s favorable safety profile and significant improvement in patient’s pain and function is growing substantially.


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