Stem Cells and Platelet-rich Plasma for Knee Osteoarthritis: Prevalence and Cost in South Florida

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2019 Oct 15;27(20):779-783. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-18-00343.


Introduction: The use of stem cell therapy (SCT) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection for knee osteoarthritis (OA) is extremely controversial and at best experimental stage. These treatments are being offered across the nation for "cash-only payments." Our objectives were to determine (1) what proportion of board-certified orthopedic surgeons in Miami-Dade County offer SCT or PRP and (2) how much do practices charge for these services.

Methods: All board-certified orthopedic surgeons' offices in Miami-Dade County were identified by their American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons active membership. Offices were contacted and presented a hypothetical patient with end-stage OA searching for treatment (SCT or PRP injections) before having to undergo surgery.

Results: Of the 96 registered American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons member's offices, 91 (94.7%) were contacted, 36% of offices offered PRP, and 24.5% offered SCT. However, 81% of the offices were transparent on the pricing of PRP, whereas 42% gave a price for SCT. Remaining practices stated that pricing would be "determined or discussed" during a scheduled visit. Mean cost for PRP injection was $897 (range, $350 to $1,700), and for SCT injection, it was $3,100 (range, $1,200 to $6,000).

Discussion: Biological injectables as treatment of knee OA have potential use in the nonsurgical management of this disease. Data on the effectiveness are lacking and are conflicting. Data should continue to be investigational.

Level of evidence: Level IV.

MeSH terms

  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Articular / economics
  • Orthopedic Surgeons
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / economics*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / economics*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / economics*