With average life expectancy and the rising prevalence of obesity, osteoarthritis (OA) is creating an increasingly large financial and physical burden on the U.S. population today. As the body ages and experiences trauma, articular cartilage surfaces in joints are gradually worn away, leading to OA. Traditionally, treatment options have included lifestyle modifications, pain management, and corticosteroid injections, with joint replacement reserved for those who have exhausted nonsurgical measures. More recently, hyaluronic acid, micronized dehydrated human amniotic/chorionic membrane tissue, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections have started to gain traction. PRP has been shown to have both anti-inflammatory effects through growth factors such as transforming growth factor-β and insulin-like growth factor 1, and stimulatory effects on mesenchymal stem cells and fibroblasts. Multiple studies have indicated that PRP is superior to hyaluronic acid and corticosteroids in terms of improving patient-reported pain and functionality scores. Unfortunately, there are many variations in PRP preparation, and lack of standardization in factors, such as speed and duration of centrifugation, leads to wide ranges of platelet and leukocyte concentrations. This review examines the current literature addressing the use of PRP in symptomatic knee OA and addresses suggestions for future studies in this area.
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