The results of a study done at the Biomechanics Laboratory-III Clinic, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute in Bologna, Italy, which compared the use and efficacy of PRP (platelet rich plasma) therapy with viscosupplementation (hyaluronic acid) intra-articular injections, for the treatment of osteoarthritis and knee cartilage degenerative lesions, were recently released. PRP therapy proved to be just as effective as viscosupplementation intra-articular injections at the two month, post-procedure mark.
At the six month mark, patients who had undergone PRP therapy for the aforementioned conditions (osteoarthritis and knee cartilage degenerative lesions) were faring better than those who received viscosupplementation intra-articular injection. Patients 50 years of age and older, experienced similar or worst results regardless of which method was used. Those in younger groups, however, responded better to PRP.
This particular study included 150 patients who suffered from either severe osteoarthritis or cartilage degenerative lesions. One group, which consisted of fifty patients, received three autologous PRP intra-articular injections. Each person in the group was evaluated twice, once at the two month post-procedure mark and once at the six month post-procedure mark. This was also true of the comparison groups.
There were three groups in all. Group number one was the aforementioned group, the one which underwent PRP. The second group was treated with a high molecular injection of hyaluronic acid. The last group was treated with low-molecular weight hyaluronic acid.
A clinical evaluation was made two months post-procedure and then six months post-procedure. Researchers also recorded the following markers, patient satisfaction and adverse events related to the injury and/treatment.
At the conclusion of the study, researchers found that the use of autolgous PRP injections proved to be more effective than viscosupplementation or hyaluronic acid intra-articular injection for the treatment of osteoarthritis and knee cartilage degenerative leasions. The former (PRP therapy) was better able to reduce pain, eliminate uncomfortable symptoms and led to better articular function recovery.
Younger patients who reported being active and who had with less cartilage degeneration, fared best. Older patients whose joints showed evidence of degeneration had the worse outcomes. These patient’s results were similar to those experienced by those who received hyaluronic acid intra-articular injections.