Introduction: Recently an articular cartilage repair has been given much attention in the orthopaedic field. Cartilage regeneration capacity is very limited. Optimal approach seems to be a delivery of natural growth factors. Autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) contains proliferative and chemoattractant growth factors. The objective of the present study was to determine if PRP can increase tibiofemoral cartilage regeneration and improve knee function.
Materials and methods: Fifty consecutive and strictly selected patients, affected by Grade II or III chondromalatia, underwent 1 year treatment (9 injections) with autologous PRP in a liquid form with 2.0 to 2.5-fold platelets concentration. Outcome measures included the Lysholm, Tegner, IKDC, and Cincinnati scores. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to evaluate cartilage thickness and degree of degeneration.
Results: The study demonstrated significant improvement in Lysholm (p < 0.05), Tegner (p < 0.05), IKDC (p < 0.05), and Cincinnati (p < 0.05) scores. Results improved at 12-month follow-up. Cartilage assessment revealed no significant cartilage regeneration (p < 0.05). There were no adverse events reported.
Conclusions: PRP significantly reduced pain and improved quality of live in patients with low degree of cartilage degeneration. Magnetic resonance imaging did not confirmed any significant cartilage condition improvement.