Comparison of Efficiency Between Cortisone & Platelet Rich Plasma For Osteoarthritis
Updated: Apr 21
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a progressive, chronic degenerative disease that presents with varying degrees of joint cartilage damage, local inflammation and bone spurring. The progression of cartilage damage can often give pain, stiffness, swelling, poor mobility and can significantly affecting the quality of life.
What is the treatment for osteoarthritis?
Treatment is focused on reducing pain, improving mobility and preserving joint health by slowing the progression of the cartilage degradation. Treatment includes physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, drug treatments, injections and surgical interventions.
Injections for osteoarthritis
Corticosteroid, platelet rich plasma (PRP) and hyaluronic acid injections are the most commonly used treatments for joint treatment. The disadvantage of corticosteroid injections is its short duration of benefit. Another commonly used treatment in knee arthritis is synthetic hyaluronic acid due to its modulating effects on inflammatory reactions and joint lubrication.
Hyaluronic acid’s is a more natural form and can be found in healthy joint fluid. Furthermore, some studies have demonstrated superiority over corticosteroid injections. The ability of the damaged cartilage to heal is insufficient due its poor blood supply. Treatment modalities are focused to provide normal tissue function, restore and slow down joint damage and to delay the need for invasive surgery as much as possible.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment
The role of complex modulation of growth factors is important to protect normal tissue structure and repair the tissue damage. In last recent years, growth factor applications to damaged tissues have become a popular treatment option. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) contains a very high concentration of platelets and therefore has more intense amounts of growth factors. It is a simple, low-cost and minimally invasive method for obtaining self repair and healing. PRP treatment has been reported as a safe, easy, well-tolerated and appropriate treatment option in mild to moderate cases of joint arthritis, however, it is important to realise that these conditions need to because early to promote success.
Here we would like to discuss whether PRP is an effective treatment for knee arthritis and compare its efficiency with corticosteroid treatment in terms of pain control, physical function, and quality of life. There have been many studies investigating the effectiveness of PRP in degenerative knee disease. In a study published in 2009, Kon et al. found a significant improvement in pain following 3 PRP injections with three-week intervals at 2nd and 6th month follow-ups. Better clinical response was obtained in younger patients with early stage cartilage damage. In 2011 PRP treatment was compared with hyaluronic acid injections, which the outcome of PRP having superior efficacy.
Platelet rich plasma has been reported as a safe treatment with no serious complications. Joint injections with corticosteroid are used to reduce pain and swelling but are associated with tissue weakening. In the Cochrane review at 2006, joint corticosteroid injections were found effective in reducing pain up to three weeks when compared with placebo in knee OA, but not in terms of functional improvement. There was no significant improvement in pain and function at 4 to 24 weeks after injection. In a trial by Gobbi et al., the comparison of of single dose PRP and corticosteroids were compared in patients with grade 2-3 arthritis. Pain, mobility and quality of life were significantly improved in the PRP group compared to the corticosteroid group at 2nd and 6th month follow-ups.
The current findings show that PRP joint injections are safe and effective treatment options for joint arthritis for the longer term. Treatment response with corticosteroid injections are shorter when compared to PRP injection therapy.
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