Platelet rich plasma (PRP), a blood-derived product rich in growth factors, is a treatment for cartilage defects. PRP's use is limited due to the lack of clinical evidence. Various studies have suggested that an injection of hyaluronic acid (HA) provides better results in early osteoarthritis.
Purpose: We aimed to compare clinical and functional outcomes of using hyaluronic acid versus platelet rich plasma in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee joint.
Methods: 60 patients were included in the study. 30 were treated with HA and the other 30 with PRP. The patients were evaluated 6 months after the procedure. Patients were evaluated before and after the procedure using Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). Range of motion was measured over time. Adverse events and patient satisfaction were also recorded.
Results: Both groups presented a clinical improvement but significantly better results were seen in the group of patients receiving PRP injections as indicated by their WOMAC and VAS scores at a 12 week and 24 week follow-up. No severe adverse events were observed. Mild pain and effusion after the injection was seen in the PRP group.
Conclusions: Our preliminary findings support the application of autologous PRP as a safe and effective method in the treatment of the initial stages of knee osteoarthritis. Significant clinical improvement was seen with 6 months of follow-up. More promising results need to be obtained in order to use it for low grade degeneration.