Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for arthritis

Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for arthritis

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Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy for arthritis

What is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?

PRP therapy is a relatively new treatment where a patient’s own blood is used as a source of material to be injected into the site of arthritis. Plasma is the liquid component of your blood. It is mostly water, but also contains some proteins, glucose and nutrients. Platelets are cells that travel through your blood stream along with red and white blood cells. they assist in clotting and secrete proteins and growth factors that stimulate tissue repair and healing.

It is thought that by concentrating the patient’s own platelets and injecting them directly into the site of injury, they would stimulate a stronger healing response and provide a potentially useful treatment for degenerative conditions like arthritis. It is also thought that they might stimulate production of joint fluid and decrease pain in those areas. Many treatments will combine this therapy with chemicals thought to enhance or boost platelet activity, or with other therapies like Stem Cell therapy. A recent intensive review of the research for PRP in a range of joint conditions found the evidence to be poor and did not recommend the therapy.

 

Pros:

  • The treatment is minimally invasive and the material is sourced from the patient’s own tissues
  • The risk of adverse reactions is considered to be low
  • It may be an attractive option for those not able to undergo more mainstream treatments (e.g. allergies or sensitivities to anti-inflammatory drugs, or a need to avoid steroid drugs)

 

Cons:

  • There is very little standardisation in the methods and additional ingredients used, which can be confusing for consumers as well as doctors
  • There is little evidence in support of its use in the literature
  • There is still much debate as to how / why platelets cause tissue healing
  • Not recommended for more severe / advanced arthritis cases

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