Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) for Osteoarthritis of the Knee | Richardson TX
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease of cartilage degeneration. Progressive in nature, osteoarthritis begins with fibrillation and reduction in the thickness of the articular cartilage, which normally lines the articulating surfaces of the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone) and patella (kneecap) which together make up the knee joint.
While total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a final surgical option, there are a number of patients for whom TKA is not the right choice, either because osteoarthritis is not yet advanced enough for consideration of TKA or they are poor surgical candidates because of other conditions complicating their joint disease.
An alternative treatment option available at Texas Orthopedic Surgery Consultants in Richardson TX for osteoarthritis of the knee is platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
What is PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma)?
Growth factors contained in platelets have long been known to stimulate natural healing steps of tissue injury. However, it was not until relatively recently that harnessing a patient’s own naturally occurring platelets and directing them into an area of musculoskeletal injury was considered a viable alternative for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Platelets are found in the circulating blood of all humans. A PRP injection refers to the method of harnessing the healing potential of these platelets and directing them towards the repair of a knee joint damaged by osteoarthritis. This starts with a straightforward blood draw. The blood collected is separated through a procedure known as centrifugation in order to separate the platelets from the remainder of the blood in the sample. Using sterile technique, this “platelet-rich” component is prepared and injected directly into the affected joint in order to stimulate repair of the damaged cartilage surfaces. Obtaining PRP growth factor is relatively inexpensive and, since it comes from the patient to whom it is returned, it has excellent reliability. Many in the orthopedic and sports medicine community have referred to PRP injections as having opened a door for new treatment of this problem that affects so many in the community.
Results of PRP for Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Studies of PRP in degenerative joint pathology have demonstrated significant improvement in pain scores and functional improvement. Studies comparing the use of a PRP injection with alternative therapies such as hyaluronic acid injections have demonstrated superior results and cost savings compared to HA injections. Compared to steroid injections for osteoarthritis of the knee, both have been shown to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, but PRP injections stand alone in providing the possibility for ongoing regenerative healing of the damaged joint surfaces as well as the antibacterial effect of platelet growth factor therapy.
How Much Does PRP for Osteoarthritis of the Knee Cost?
Insurance companies have yet to offer coverage for a PRP injection in the treatment of osteoarthritis, categorizing treatment as “experimental” and thus excluded from medical plans. But, with the ten-year plus and growing body of evidence found in the scientific literature, we who are responsible for alleviating the pain and disuse associated with this aggressive disease can only hope that this acknowledgment will not be delayed into the too-distant future.
For now, the cost of a PRP injection for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis remains the responsibility of the patient. However, given that PRP injections are the only currently available option with the possibility of slowing or avoiding the possible progression of osteoarthritis resulting in the need for TKA, many continue to find the cost well worth the expense.
– Christopher Blair, DO, MBA
Texas Orthopedic Surgery Consultants proudly provides patients with PRP injections for osteoarthritis of the knee in Richardson, TX and surrounding areas, including Plano, Garland and Addison, TX. Contact us at (972) 235-5633 or fill out a Contact Form here to schedule an initial consultation to discuss if PRP is an option for you.