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      Intra-articular platelet-rich plasma vs corticosteroids in the treatment of moderate knee osteoarthritis: a single-center prospective randomized controlled study with a 1-year follow up


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          Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent type of arthritis, which significantly impacts the patient’s mobility and quality of life. Pharmacological treatments for osteoarthritis, such as corticosteroids, produce an immediate reduction of the patient’s pain as well as an improvement in the patient’s mobility and quality of life, but with a limited long-term efficacy. In this context, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) infiltrations represent a therapeutic tool due to its trophic properties and its ability to control inflammatory processes, especially in musculoskeletal applications. The aim of this study is to evaluate and compare the clinical benefits of PRP when injected intra-articularly vs a commonly used corticosteroid (CS, triamcinolone acetonide, Kenalog®) in patients affected by mild to moderate symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.


          Forty patients affected by symptomatic radiologically confirmed knee osteoarthritis (Kellgren-Lawrence grades II–III) were enrolled in this randomized study. Patients randomized in the PRP group ( n = 20) received an intra-articular injection of PRP (8 mL) while patients randomized in the CS group ( n = 20) received an intra-articular injection of triamcinolone acetonide (1 mL of 40 mg/mL) plus lidocaine (5 mL of 2%). The pain and function of the target knee were evaluated by the VAS, IKDC, and KSS scales at the baseline (V1), 1 week (V2), 5 weeks (V3), 15 weeks (V4), 30 weeks (V5), and 1 year (V6) after treatment.


          No serious adverse effects were observed during the follow-up period. A mild synovitis was registered in 15 patients (75%) in the PRP group within the first week after treatment which resolved spontaneously. Both treatments were effective in relieving pain and improving the knee function in the very short-term follow-up visit (1 week). A high improvement of the subjective scores was observed for both groups up to 5 weeks, with no significative differences between the groups for the VAS, IKDC, or KSS. After 15 weeks of follow-up, the PRP group showed significative improvements in all scores when compared to the CS group. Overall, the patients who received PRP treatment had better outcomes in a longer follow-up visit (up to 1 year) than those who received CS.


          A single PRP or CS intra-articular injection is safe and improves the short-term scores of pain and the knee function in patients affected by mild to moderate symptomatic knee OA (with no significant differences between the groups). PRP demonstrated a statistically significant improvement over CS in a 1-year follow-up. This study was registered at ISRCTN with the ID ISRCTN46024618.

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          Efficacy of Intra-articular Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections in Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review.

          To determine (1) whether platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection significantly improves validated patient-reported outcomes in patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) at 6 and 12 months postinjection, (2) differences in outcomes between PRP and corticosteroid injections or viscosupplementation or placebo injections at 6 and 12 months postinjection, and (3) similarities and differences in outcomes based on the PRP formulations used in the analyzed studies.
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            Platelet-rich plasma intra-articular knee injections for the treatment of degenerative cartilage lesions and osteoarthritis.

            Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a simple, low-cost and minimally invasive method that provides a natural concentrate of autologous blood growth factors (GFs) that can be used to enhance tissue regeneration. In a previous analysis of a 12-month follow-up study, promising results were obtained when treating patients affected by knee degeneration with PRP intra-articular injections. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the persistence of the beneficial effects observed. Of the 91 patients evaluated in the previous 12-month follow-up study, 90 were available for the 2-year follow-up (24 patients presented a bilateral lesion, in a total of 114 knees treated). All of the patients presented a chronic knee degenerative condition and were treated with three intra-articular PRP injections. IKDC and EQ-VAS scores were used for clinical evaluation. Complications, adverse events and patient satisfaction were also recorded. All of the evaluated parameters worsened at the 24-month follow-up: these parameters were at significantly lower levels with respect to the 12-month evaluation (the IKDC objective evaluation fell from 67 to 59% of normal and nearly normal knees; the IKDC subjective score fell from 60 to 51), even if they remained higher than the basal level. Further analysis showed better results in younger patients (P = 0.0001) and lower degrees of cartilage degeneration (P < 0.0005). The median duration of the clinical improvement was 9 months. These findings indicate that treatment with PRP injections can reduce pain and improve knee function and quality of life with short-term efficacy. Further studies are needed to confirm these results and understand the mechanism of action, and to find other application modalities, with different platelet and GF concentrations and injection timing, which provide better and more durable results.
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              Intraarticular injections (corticosteroid, hyaluronic acid, platelet rich plasma) for the knee osteoarthritis.

              Osteoarthritis (OA) is a complex "whole joint" disease pursued by inflammatory mediators, rather than purely a process of "wear and tear". Besides cartilage degradation, synovitis, subchondral bone remodeling, degeneration of ligaments and menisci, and hypertrophy of the joint capsule take parts in the pathogenesis. Pain is the hallmark symptom of OA, but the extent to which structural pathology in OA contributes to the pain experience is still not well known. For the knee OA, intraarticular (IA) injection (corticosteroids, viscosupplements, blood-derived products) is preferred as the last nonoperative modality, if the other conservative treatment modalities are ineffective. IA corticosteroid injections provide short term reduction in OA pain and can be considered as an adjunct to core treatment for the relief of moderate to severe pain in people with OA. IA hyaluronic acid (HA) injections might have efficacy and might provide pain reduction in mild OA of knee up to 24 wk. But for HA injections, the cost-effectiveness is an important concern that patients must be informed about the efficacy of these preparations. Although more high-quality evidence is needed, recent studies indicate that IA platelet rich plasma injections are promising for relieving pain, improving knee function and quality of life, especially in younger patients, and in mild OA cases. The current literature and our experience indicate that IA injections are safe and have positive effects for patient satisfaction. But, there is no data that any of the IA injections will cause osteophytes to regress or cartilage and meniscus to regenerate in patients with substantial and irreversible bone and cartilage damage.

                Author and article information

                J Orthop Surg Res
                J Orthop Surg Res
                Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research
                BioMed Central (London )
                10 July 2020
                10 July 2020
                : 15
                [1 ]GRID grid.17330.36, ISNI 0000 0001 2173 9398, Faculty of Continuing Education, , Rīga Stradiņš University, ; Riga, Latvia
                [2 ]“ORTO klinika” Ltd., Riga, Latvia
                [3 ]Laboratorios Fidia Farmacéutica S.L.U, Madrid, Spain
                © The Author(s) 2020

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

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                © The Author(s) 2020


                osteoarthritis, knee, platelet-rich plasma, corticosteroid


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