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

Published:September 29, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arthro.2015.08.005

      Purpose

      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.

      Methods

      PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, SCOPUS, and Sport Discus were searched for English-language, level I evidence, human in vivo studies on the treatment of symptomatic knee OA with intra-articular PRP compared with other options, with a minimum of 6 months of follow-up. A quality assessment of all articles was performed using the Modified Coleman Methodology Score (average, 83.3/100), and outcomes were analyzed using 2-proportion z-tests.

      Results

      Six articles (739 patients, 817 knees, 39% males, mean age of 59.9 years, with 38 weeks average follow-up) were analyzed. All studies met minimal clinical important difference criteria and showed significant improvements in statistical and clinical outcomes, including pain, physical function, and stiffness, with PRP. All but one study showed significant differences in clinical outcomes between PRP and hyaluronic acid (HA) or PRP and placebo in pain and function. Average pretreatment Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) scores were 52.36 and 52.05 for the PRP and HA groups, respectively ( P = .420). Mean post-treatment WOMAC scores for PRP were significantly better than for HA at 3 to 6 months (28.5 and 43.4, respectively; P = .0008) and at 6 to 12 months (22.8 and 38.1, respectively; P = .0062). None of the included studies used corticosteroids.

      Conclusions

      In patients with symptomatic knee OA, PRP injection results in significant clinical improvements up to 12 months postinjection. Clinical outcomes and WOMAC scores are significantly better after PRP versus HA at 3 to 12 months postinjection. There is limited evidence for comparing leukocyte-rich versus leukocyte-poor PRP or PRP versus steroids in this study.

      Level of Evidence

      Level I, systematic review of Level I studies.
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