Platelet-rich plasma intra-articular injection versus hyaluronic acid viscosupplementation as treatments for cartilage pathology: from early degeneration to osteoarthritis.
This clinical trial was published in 2011 in Journal of Arthroscopy. (IF 2016:4.292) by Italian specialists. The aim of our study is to compare the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and viscosupplementation (hyaluronic acid [HA]) intra-articular injections for the treatment of knee cartilage degenerative lesions and osteoarthritis (OA). The study involved 150 patients affected by cartilage degenerative lesions and early and severe OA. Fifty symptomatic patients were treated with 3 autologous PRP intra-articular injections and were evaluated prospectively at enrollment and at 2- and 6-month follow-up. The results obtained were compared with 2 homogeneous groups of patients treated with HA injections. One group was treated with injections of high-molecular weight HA; the other group was treated with low-molecular weight (LW) HA.
At 2 months' follow-up, the PRP and LW HA groups showed a similar improvement, with higher results compared with the high-molecular weight HA group. Autologous PRP injections showed more and longer efficacy than HA injections in reducing pain and symptoms and recovering articular function. Better results were achieved in younger and more active patients with a low degree of cartilage degeneration, whereas a worse outcome was obtained in more degenerated joints and in older patients, in whom results similar to those of viscosupplementation have been observed.