Platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment

Platelet rich plasma treatment for OA

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a cell therapy that involves removing, processing, and re-introducing a person’s own cells to treat or prevent a medical condition. PRP treatments involve collecting a small amount of your blood and spinning it in a centrifuge machine to separate the platelets from the red blood cells.  In the case of knee OA, the collected platelets are then injected into the knee to stimulate healing and regeneration.  

Many emerging autologous cell therapies (that is, using a patient’s own cells) like PRP are supported by only low-quality evidence showing that they are safe and effective. There are many questions surrounding studies that showed some  promising results for PRP in reducing pain in osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. There is a lack of clarity regarding the number, frequency and preparation of PRP injections needed, the mechanism to explain how it could work in the body, which patients may see benefits, and whether when studied in a rigorous manner it actually results in clinically meaningful symptom improvement.  Further research is needed to determine the efficacy of PRP and clarify these important issues. 

Because of these concerns, PRP is currently not recommended in international OA treatment guidelines.

Learn more about platelet rich plasma treatment at these links:

This information was reviewed in August 2020 with expert advice from:

Dr. Lauren King, MSc, MBBS, FRCPC
Rheumatologist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre