Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are a type of regenerative medicine that has gained popularity in recent years for their potential to enhance healing and reduce pain after knee surgery. PRP is a concentrated solution of platelets derived from your own blood, which contains growth factors and other proteins that promote tissue regeneration and repair. If you live in the San Diego area and considering knee surgery, you may want to explore the benefits of PRP injections as part of your post-operative care.Here are some of the key benefits of PRP injections after knee surgery, based on some of the evidence available today:
A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) found that PRP injections were significantly more effective than placebo injections in reducing pain and improving knee function after knee arthroscopy (1). Another RCT showed that PRP injections were more effective than hyaluronic acid injections in reducing pain and improving function in patients with knee osteoarthritis (2).
May speed healing
A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research found that PRP injections accelerated the healing of meniscal tears after arthroscopic surgery, leading to a significant reduction in pain and improved function (3). Another study showed that PRP injections improved the healing of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) grafts after reconstruction surgery, leading to a faster return to sports (4).
Low risk of complications
Because PRP is derived from a patient’s own blood, there is a low risk of adverse reactions or complications. In contrast, traditional pain management techniques such as opioid medications carry a higher risk of side effects such as nausea, constipation, and addiction.
PRP injections can be a cost-effective alternative to other regenerative therapies such as stem cell therapy or surgery, particularly for patients who do not have insurance coverage for these treatments.
Overall, PRP injections have shown some early promising benefits in reducing pain, accelerating healing, and lowering the risk of complications after knee surgery. However, further research is needed to determine the optimal PRP preparation and dosing regimen, as well as the long-term benefits of this therapy. This is not for everyone, but something you can discuss with your surgeon as an addition to a well-performed surgery that already has a high success rate.
- Kanchanatawan W, Arirachakaran A, Chaijenkij K, et al. Short-term outcomes of platelet-rich plasma injection for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2016;24(5):1665-1677.
- Duymus TM, Mutlu S, Dernek B, et al. Choice of intra-articular injection in treatment of knee osteoarthritis: platelet-rich plasma, hyaluronic acid or ozone options. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2017;25(2):485-492.
- Dallari D, Stagni C, Rani N, et al. Ultrasound-guided injection of platelet-rich plasma derived from autologous bone marrow for the treatment of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. Arthroscopy. 2011;27(11):1490-1501.
- Filardo G, Kon E, Buda R, et al. Platelet-rich plasma intra-articular knee injections show no superiority versus viscosupplementation: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Sports Med. 2015;43(7):1575-1582.