Objective: This study aimed to find a simple, cost-effective, and time-efficient method for the preparation of platelet-rich plasma (PRP), so the acquired benefits will be readily available for multiple procedures in smaller outpatient clinics and to explore the safety and efficacy of the application of PRP in the treatment of degenerative lesions of articular cartilage of the knee.
Design: The study was designed as a prospective, cohort study with a control group. A total of 120 patients with Grade 1, 2, or 3 osteoarthritis according to the Kellgren and Lawrence grading scale were enrolled in the study. One group of patients was treated using three intra-articular applications of PRP, and the second group of patients was given three injections of hyaluronic acid. Outcome measures included the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index and the 11-point pain intensity Numeric Rating Scale.
Results: On average, a 4.5-fold increase in platelet concentration was obtained in the PRP group. No severe adverse events were observed. Statistically significantly better results in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index and Numeric Rating Scale scores were recorded in a group of patients who received PRP injections after a 3- and 6-mo follow-up.
Conclusions: Our preliminary findings support the application of autologous PRP as an effective and safe method in the treatment of the initial stages of knee osteoarthritis. Further studies are needed to confirm these results and to investigate the persistence of the beneficial effects observed.