This article recently caught my eye.
A Utah doctor told assembled colleagues at the annual meeting of the American Society of International Pain Physicians that studies are showing the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy for various conditions, including knee osteoarthritis.
Dr. Richard Rosenthal cited for example a paper showing that patients (the subjects were age 45 to 85) had a significantly smaller chance of reinjuring their rotator cuff after a massive tear if they received PRP gel. A different study demonstrated a salutary outcome for lower back pain sufferers.
Caveats are in order of course, as the article notes. PRP is still a relatively young procedure. Issues remain to be sorted out, from the proper protocol for treatment to identification of differences among some 40 products currently on the market.
One voice of caution, Wellington Hsu of Northwestern’s school of medicine, notes that there are “holes in the evidence for PRP in the management of osteochondral lesions and knee osteoarthritis.”
So, expect further studies. The good news is, if PRP continues to shine in clinical trials, insurers may agree to pick up the tab for the procedure -- some $750 per injection -- which (at least in the U.S.) they won’t do now.