Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to Treat Osteoarthritis

Blood Plasma

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a Low-risk Biologic Treatment for Osteoarthritis

Biologics are medical procedures that use a person’s own body cells and blood to heal a damaged part of one’s own body. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been shown to have potential benefits in treating osteoarthritis. PRP is one of the most successful and unique biologic treatment procedures. PRP has been around for more than 20 years, since it was first used in plastic surgery.

Platelets are the blood cells necessary for proper clotting of blood and together with the rich liquid part of plasma, can be used to heal joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles by using a patient’s own blood plasma. Unlike blood which is red, blood plasma is a pale yellow color. PRP contains a more concentrated number of platelets (two to eight times more) than would be found in the patient’s regular blood. PRP speeds up healing, especially as the patient’s body will not try to reject it. Animal studies show that PRP can work in both soft tissue and bone.

No Rejection or Allergic Problems

The body does not reject PRP injections because they are made from the person’s own body. Also, there is no risk of any kind of allergic reaction because no one is allergic to themselves.

Safer than Surgery

Many of these PRP procedures can replace surgical operations. Surgical operations, especially under general anesthesia, are risky for seniors. It is safer to first try to heal worn out knee joints using a person’s own blood plasma rather than undergoing total knee replacement surgery (TKR). However, there are cases when total knee replacement surgery (TKR) is called for.

PRP Preparation

According to the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York, one or a few vials of a patient’s own blood is taken under strictly sterile conditions. Then the blood is put in a container where it is centrifuged (spun around at high speed). This separates the blood into its various parts. After it is ready, the concentrated plasma is injected directly into the painful and damaged tissue or joint. The doctor uses ultrasound to find the exact place where the concentrated plasma is needed.

Recovery from PRP

After the procedure is completed it is only necessary to rest a bit. This is in contrast to recovery from surgery which has a more extensive recovery period. The patient then begins a rehabilitation regimen of stretching and strengthening physical exercises. After two to five weeks the patient will begin to notice significant improvement, although some patients claim to feel better even before the two weeks are up.

Successful in Treating Collagen Deterioration

PRP injections have shown particular success in improving pain and conditions where collagen has deteriorated like in tendonosis of the ankles, wrists, shoulders, hips, knees and tennis elbows.

PRP Promising Treatment for Osteoarthritis

Studies show that PRP has the potential to be highly successful in treating osteoarthritis, especially knee arthritis. PRP at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York showed that not only did PRP improve mobility and lessen pain in patients with knee arthritis, but the PRP treatments actually retarded the progression of osteoarthritis in 73% of the patients.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. OA affects over 30 million US adults. Some people call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees.

With OA, the cartilage within a joint begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change. These changes usually develop slowly and get worse over time. OA can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. In some cases it also causes reduced function and disability. Some people are no longer able to do daily tasks or work.

Signs and Symptoms of OA

  • Pain or aching
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion (or flexibility)
  • Swelling

Rehabilitation after Knee Surgery

If you or your loved one need to have total knee replacement surgery, the Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in scenic Galloway Township specializes in post-surgical expert rehabilitation and care. To read more about rehabilitation from a total knee replacement operation see our blog post from February 20, 2018.

Conclusion

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment from the patient’s own blood can be especially good for seniors, as this is safer than surgery and has a low-risk for complications and side effects.

 

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