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Papers of the Week

2021 Jun

Exp Ther Med



Intra-articular injections of platelet-rich plasma vs. hyaluronic acid in patients with knee osteoarthritis: Preliminary follow-up results at 6-months.


The aim of the present study was to compare the clinical and economic benefits of intra-articular injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and hyaluronic acid (HA) in Chinese patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). A total of 86 patients (42 treated with PRP and 44 with HA) were treated with three weekly intra-articular injections. The inclusion criteria included patients between 18 and 75 years of age, with chronic knee pain or swelling lasting >3 months and X-ray findings of degenerative joint alterations according to the Kellgren-Lawrence score grade I-III. Clinical examinations were performed before treatment, at 1- and 6-month post-injection intervals. International Knee Documentation Committee subjective, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities and visual analogue scale scores were determined at each examination. Adverse reactions, average cost, treatment time and patient satisfaction were also recorded. Compared with patients injected with HA, PRP was found to be associated with increased and more severe post-injection pain and swelling, where the duration of adverse reactions was greater in the PRP group (P=0.02). During the follow-up evaluations, both groups showed statistically significant improvements in all clinical scores from pre-injection to 1- and 6-month assessments (P<0.05). However, no significant inter-group (PRP vs. HA) differences were observed in the clinical scores between the two follow-up time points. There were also no significant differences in clinical score between the groups with regards to the Kellgren-Lawrence grade I, II or III. The average cost of PRP injections was 22.8X that of HA administration and the average treatment time was 5X that of HA, but there was no significant difference in patient satisfaction. These preliminary results indicate that although PRP injections can significantly improve clinical outcome in patients with knee OA, PRP is not any more effective compared with HA. Furthermore, PRP injections are associated with higher costs and treatment times. Therefore, additional clinical studies are required before PRP injections can be considered as a first-line treatment option for knee OA.