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PRP Therapy for Knee OA Pain and Stiffness: What to Expect 

PRP Therapy for Knee OA Pain and Stiffness: What to Expect 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy first reached public consciousness when athletes like Tiger Woods used it to accelerate healing from injuries. But PRP has a long history that began more than 70 years ago and continues to this day as techniques evolve.

If you have knee arthritis, you may be frustrated by the limitations of pain medications and joint injections. You also may wonder if PRP can address your osteoarthritis (OA) pain and stiffness. 

At the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey, our board-certified rheumatologists, Ahmed M. Abdel-Megid, MD, and Amanda Borham, MD, use PRP to treat a variety of pain conditions, including knee OA. 

Will PRP work for your knee OA? If so, what kinds of improvements should you expect and how long will they last?

PRP is simple

The PRP process couldn't be simpler. If we determine that you’re a candidate for PRP, your treatment starts with a blood draw. We remove one to several test tubes of blood from your arm.

We then spin the test tubes in a centrifuge, which separates the liquid plasma from the platelet solids. We create a concentrated serum of a small amount of plasma with the isolated platelets.

Platelets are cell fragments that help your body heal and rebuild tissues due to their high numbers of proteins and growth factors. The PRP serum we create has up to 10 times the number of growth factors normally found in your blood. 

We inject the concentrated platelets directly into the cartilage in your knee. The PRP helps produce more collagen in the soft tissues around your knee joint and may aid in rebuilding or slowing the loss of cartilage, too.  

Severity influences outcome

If you have severe osteoarthritis in your knee, PRP may not help. The PRP serum helps your body initiate healing in soft tissues and bone. If your cartilage has already worn away, there may not be enough tissue left for PRP to be effective.

In such cases, we may recommend partial or complete joint replacement instead. We evaluate the severity of your knee OA with imaging studies so that we can offer you the best options for your condition.

The number of platelets count

The difference between success and failure with PRP depends partly on the individual, but also on the dose of platelets. When the PRP serum has an insufficient number of platelets, results are no better than a placebo or hyaluronic acid (HA).

But one study showed that PRP with at least 10 billion platelets improved a variety of parameters that measure pain and mobility. These effects can last up to two years after just a single PRP treatment. 

After PRP therapy

Directly after your PRP treatment, your knee may be sore and slightly swollen from the injections. We may recommend painkillers to control any discomfort. 

You should start to notice the benefits from your PRP several weeks after your treatment. You may need yearly touch-ups to maintain mobile and pain-free joints.

Are you ready to treat your knee arthritis and get moving again with PRP therapy? Contact us today by phone or online form at our office nearest you, in Monroe, Flemington, or Somerville, New Jersey.

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