The science of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is still relatively new to the world of orthopedics. As such, there are many studies being performed that test the application of the plasma platelets in various clinical settings. In the rush to show how beneficial PRP applications can be in surgery, only sometimes is there research to show that PRP can be just as effective outside of surgery. Unfortunately, PRP is being studied more as an adjunct to surgery instead of as an alternative to surgery.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) in Surgery
Recently we posted an article about “ultra-octogenarian” and stem cell injection therapy – showing research suggesting age may not play a role in healing using Comprehensive Prolotherapy. In this PRP research study, doctors sought to determine if patients deemed too old for a specific surgery could get that surgery if blood platelets were introduced into the equation.
Examining PRP’s ability to accelerate healing in Microfracture surgery for articular cartilage repair in elderly patients
Knowing that people under 40 benefit most from microfracture, researchers set out to find how they could extend the age of patients who benefit from this surgery. Here is the gist of the study:
“The aim of this study was the first to report the results regarding the PRP as an adjunct for arthroscopic microfracture in the early osteoarthritic knee with cartilage lesion over 40 years of age.
Forty-nine (49) patients who underwent arthroscopic microfracture for cartilage lesion sized less than 4 cm(2) with early osteoarthritis, aged 40-50 years, were enrolled and randomly divided into 2 groups: a control group with only arthroscopic microfracture (25 patients) and a study group with arthroscopic microfracture and PRP (24 patients). . .
In the postoperative 2 years, clinical results showed significantly better in the study group than in the control group. In post-arthroscopic finding, hardness and elasticity degree was better in the study group. The PRP injection with arthroscopic microfracture would be improved the results in early osteoarthritic knee with cartilage lesion in 40-50 years old, and the indication of this technique could be extended to 50 years.1 This research is cited in numerous studies.2
Therefore, if Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is included in the surgery, it makes the surgery work better for older patients. Studies suggest that PRP can extend the effectiveness in the older patient in cartilage repair as documented by this study’s discussion of stronger, harder, more elastic soft tissue (cartilage.)
1. Lee GW, Son JH, Kim JD, Jung GH. Is platelet-rich plasma able to enhance the results of arthroscopic microfracture in early osteoarthritis and cartilage lesion over 40 years of age? Eur J Orthop Surg Traumatol. 2012 Jul 5. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Marmotti A, Rossi R, Castoldi F, Roveda E, Michielon G, Peretti GM. PRP and articular cartilage: a clinical update. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:542502. doi: 10.1155/2015/542502. Epub 2015 May 5.