Knee Arthritis- PRP vs Hyaluronic acid treatment
There’s another study that came out looking at platelet-rich plasma versus hyaluronic acid injections for knee osteoarthritis. There’s a number of these studies that are out there now, and in general they show similar findings, which is that platelet-rich plasma, as you start getting to the three, six, and sometimes even up to 12-month mark, seems to give more pain relief than hyaluronic acid injection does. That makes sense, because it’s generally thought that platelet-rich plasma is a stronger treatment. But there is a challenge with these studies when it comes to its clinical use. And the reason why is because the way that we use platelet-rich plasma does not actually fit how it’s used in these studies. So for hyaluronic acid, this is thought to be either a lubricant, or a low-level anti-inflammatory.
It seems to last longer than steroid injections. It’s really given primarily just in the knee joint, or in other joints. There is some limited evidence that it may be helpful for tendon-related issues as well. Platelet-rich plasma, on the other hand, is not only given into the joint. In fact, if you’re treating a knee osteoarthritis situation, your goal is to treat not only the arthritis component, but the other soft tissue structures that are also causing pain and instability. So with platelet-rich plasma, essentially the way you would use it is by injecting not only platelets into the knee joint, but into those other soft tissue structures as well.
So while it’s meaningful that injecting into the joint alone, platelet-rich plasma works better than hyaluronic acid, the reality is that in actual, in an actual regenerative medicine clinical practice, that’s a limited form of how you would use platelets. The results that you should get are even better than what’s seen in the clinical studies, because you should be injecting not only into the joint, but into the ligaments, the meniscus, the tendons, the bone, some of the nerves around the joint as well. You should be hitting all of the pain generating structures, and you also should be improving function, stability, and long-term pain relief as well.