Treatment for Knee Arthritis: PRP Injections (Regenerative Medicine)
PRP, or Platelet-Rich Plasma, is a type of injection that starts with drawing the patient’s blood through a peripheral blood draw from the arm, and it’s typically done here in the clinic. That blood is then taken to a centrifuge machine and spun down. We are then able to isolate the cells from the blood to provide us the best opportunity to decrease inflammation caused by arthritis when we inject back into the knee joint.
The PRP injection is a regular clinic visit, and we’re able to do it within our normal office space. You come in for a blood draw initially, then we are able to spin down and provide and create the PRP Injection while you wait. It’s typically less than a 20-minute process, and we are able then to complete the entire process, with the injection included, in about 30 minutes.
With a PRP injection for knee, our hope is that you’re able to gain 6-12 months of joint pain relief. There is new and gaining research showing that this is possible. We are comparing it to placebo injections and it has also been compared to the gold-standard steroid injections. It has shown to provide longer joint pain relief for up to a year. This is not expected to be a complete cure, and we may need to repeat it, but the relief lasts much longer than some of our other injection options.
We can repeat PRP injections as long as they’re beneficial. As with any injections that we do, we are doing this to postpone surgery as long as possible. As long as they’re providing relief, we can continue them without any detriment to the knee or other part of the body. One of the concerns with steroid injections is that repeated injections can actually damage the cartilage. PRP injections do not have that negative side effect that we see with the steroid or cortisone shots.
The side effects and risks associated with PRP injection are low. Any time we draw blood, there is the risk associated with it – a very, very small risk of infection and local irritation from the blood draw. Otherwise, we have not seen any significant side effects or concerns from either the blood draw or the injection itself.