In an Editorial Commentary, Timothy Hunt, MD , Associate Editor of “Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery”, states that the “the time has come to try Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) knee injections for Osteoarthritis”. He commends a large, 10-study review of over 1000 patients who had a significantly better pain relief and functional outcomes 12 months after PRP injections, compared to hyaluronic acid (viscous gel) or saline placebo.
The outcomes were reported with over 95% confidence, and satisfied the highest criteria (Level One) for being double-blinded, randomized, and prospective reviews.
Commonly, cortisone and hyaluronic acid (viscous gel) injections are used for knee osteoarthritis symptoms. Though often “covered” by many insurance and government carriers (Medicare, Medicaid, Workman’s Comp), there are varying results, costs, and often repeat trips to the doctors’ office. Some gel injections require 3 or 5 visits, spaced one week apart.
Regarding costs, the obvious question is when will third party insurance carriers recognize these new, cutting-edge options, which may not only be more efficacious, but may involve fewer visits, less overall expense, and can utilize a patients’ own natural healing capabilities found in their own blood. Finding knowledgeable personnel to assist in the preparation of the PRP, as well as obtaining authorization or appropriate reimbursement will be important as we go forward with this new opportunity for treating knee osteoarthritis.
Reference: Hunt,Timothy MD: Editorial Commentary: The Time Has Come to Try Intra-articular Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections for Your Patients with Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis. Arhtroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery, Vol 33, No 3 (March), 2017: pp 671-672.