08-17-2018 Douglas Won, MD, Regenerative & Longevity Medicine Specialist
Our knee joint may be one of the strongest joints in the body, but it is also just as vulnerable to injuries and diseases. Some of the common problems that affect the knees are rheumatoid arthritis, knee osteoarthritis, and injuries of the knee tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and meniscus. These problems can cause significant knee pain and inflammation that can negatively impact a person’s our day to day life.
These common knee problems are typically treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, and cortisone injections. Physical therapy, alternative treatment like acupuncture, and supplements may also benefit the patient. For severe knee problems, surgery may be recommended.
Today, an increasing number of patients are turning to platelet-rich plasma injections as an alternative treatment for their knee replacement Plano. They find that knee platelet-rich plasma injections are more effective in controlling their pain and inflammation.
During the late 1980s, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections were first used in surgeries to promote wound healing. Its effectiveness soon became popular in the medical industry that other fields also began using PRP. It was used in cosmetic surgery as well as dentistry. Pretty soon, PRP was also used in sports medicine and other musculoskeletal problems, especially knee problems.
Platelet Rich PLASMA Therapy Plano involves extracting blood from the patient. This then goes through a process that separates the liquid component of the blood from its solid component to get the maximum amount of platelets. The platelets are then injected into the knee.
The entire process typically takes about half an hour to an hour. After a short period of rest, the patient can then go home. Follow-up appointments are scheduled to check the patient’s progress in terms of healing as well as complications.
PRP is a relatively safe procedure to treat knee problems. Unlike corticosteroid injections which can cause an allergic reaction to the drug or damage to the cartilage, PRP does not carry this risk since the treatment uses the patient’s own blood.
As for its effectiveness, one study revealed that PRP can not only reduce pain but also improve knee functions. PRP injections were also able to relieve knee stiffness and improve the patients overall wellbeing.
Platelet-rich plasma injections to the knee joint offer a lot of benefits.
Unlike drug injections to the knee, PRP doesn’t cause any allergic reactions or transfusion risks. After all, it makes use of the patient’s own blood. There’s no cause for the immune system to treat the platelet-rich plasma as an antigen, attack it, and trigger an allergic reaction.
Inflammation is one of the problems that worsen knee conditions like arthritis. If this is left uncontrolled, it will only cause more problems since it’s preventing the tissues to heal. Inflammation also contributes to disease progression and knee joint deformity. It causes the bone and cartilage to erode and the ligaments to loosen.
PRP injection can not only reduce inflammation, but it can also slow down disease progression. Once the growth factors found in PRP interact with the cells, the cells will then release chemical signals that regulate or control inflammation. These will also induce cell repair. When inflammation is controlled, the cells can start healing.
The knee joint is covered by a membrane called the synovium or the synovial membrane. This membrane produces a liquid called synovial fluid. This fluid not only lubricates but nourishes the joints as well.
Knee problems like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can do significant damage to the synovial membrane. The usual wear-and-tear in osteoarthritis cause thinning of the membrane, resulting in decreased synovial fluid and knee swelling. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, causes inflammation and thickening of the synovial fluid. This then results in increased synovial fluid, swelling of the knee, and pain.
PRP injections can address both knee problems. The growth factors found in PRP can increase synovial fluid production in osteoarthritis and ease painful knee joint motion. In rheumatoid arthritis, it can decrease inflammation and allow the synovial membrane to heal.
Uncontrolled inflammation contributes to knee pain since the swelling presses against the nerve endings responsible for pain perception. During the inflammatory process, the cells also release chemicals that further aggravate these nerve endings and worsen knee pain.
Platelet-rich plasma contains a high amount of special proteins responsible for pain regulation. Once these proteins interact with the pain receptors found in the cells, they cause an analgesic effect, resulting in decreased pain.
Chronic knee problems can result in tissue damage. If there is swelling, blood flow to the knee is also reduced, further slowing down the healing process.
PRP has a high concentration of beneficial proteins like the growth factor. This special protein can stimulate cell growth. The more the cells grow, the faster they can heal the injured and damaged areas. In time and with successive treatments, the normal architecture of the knee can be restored and the weakened areas strengthened.
PRP can control the factors that worsen knee problems – pain, inflammation, and tissue damage. With these factors controlled, knee joint movement will also improve. The patient can again enjoy his activities of daily living relatively pain-free.
PRP offers the patient a solution to his knee problems that can last a long time. Unlike painkillers and injections, PRP may even be a permanent solution to knee problems since it won’t wear off over time. If the treatment is successful, the patient can avoid surgery or other invasive procedures to correct his knee problems.
The procedure uses the patient’s own blood, so it won’t produce any unwanted side effects like most drugs do. You won’t have any untoward reaction to it, so there’s no risk of an allergic reaction.
There may be some pain and bleeding during the procedure. However, these are caused by the needle going into your knee and typically go away after some time.
With PRP treatment, you won’t experience the side effects typically associated with medications like nausea, headache, vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, dizziness, confusion, and even addiction. It won’t even harm your liver and kidneys.
There are some complications to PRP treatment, but these are typically mild. You may develop some bruising on the injection site, but this is usually caused by the needle itself and will disappear after some time.
Infection is also a risk, but this is typically caused by the use of unsterile equipment. Infection due to PRP injection is rare though.
About 20% of the patients who have had the injection do not respond to the PRP treatment. Some experts believe though that the failure to respond to PRP treatment may be caused by some of these factors: low PRP amount, incorrect PRP preparation process, low PRP injection frequency, or improper PRP administration.
PRP injection is an effective treatment for knee joints. So if you’re having knee joint problems, you may want to talk to your regenerative specialist about it.
Key Words: Knee pain, platelet rich plasma, PRP, knee joint, total knee replacement, knee surgery, knee scope, meniscus, cartilage