Background: The refinement of the use of platelet-derived growth factors that has occurred over the last decade has led to a broadening of the fields of use, in particular for new treatments in orthopaedics aimed at improving tissue regeneration.
Materials and methods: Twenty-seven patients, aged between 18 and 81 years, with a diagnosis of degenerative joint disease lasting for more than 1 year were treated. The patients were divided into two groups, one with arthritis of the knee, the other with degenerative cartilage disease of the knee. Both groups were treated with a therapeutic protocol consisting of a cycle of three infiltrations of platelet-rich plasma at weekly intervals.The extemporaneous preparation was made from a sample of about 8 mL of venous whole blood collected into a specific Fibrin Polymer 2 test-tube from RegenLab(®) and centrifuged before addition of calcium gluconate.During the initial pre-treatment evaluation, specific questionnaires were administered, the Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) for subjective measurement of pain and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC); these assessments were repeated 7 days after the end of the treatment and at 6 months during the follow-up.
Results: The parameters evaluated improved in both groups after treatment and there was a further improvement after 6 months of follow-up; furthermore, there was a substantial decrease in pain right after the first infiltration.
Discussion: The patients were treated on an out-patient basis by a specifically created multidisciplinary team comprising a transfusion specialist, an orthopaedist and a radiologist, who collaborate in a symbiotic manner. The out-patient protocol exploits the regenerative properties of platelet-rich plasma, which is a low cost treatment; in practice, a diagnostic-therapeutic programme of lower intensity, but of high technical and professional quality is created. The strategy also reduces both the number of hospital services and the pharmacological support required, thereby optimising the use of health care resources.