Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) consists of two elements: plasma, or the liquid portion of blood, and platelets, a type of blood cell that plays an important role in healing throughout the body.
Platelets are well-known for their clotting abilities, but they also contain growth factors that can trigger cell reproduction and stimulate tissue regeneration or healing in the treated area. Platelet-rich plasma is simply blood that contains more platelets than normal.
PRP is obtained by taking a blood sample from the patient and placing it in a machine called centrifuge. The machine spins pretty fast and separates the components of the blood, after which the PRP area can be obtained.
PRP has been evaluated for the use of different musculoskeletal conditions, mainly for the use in knee injections to treat pain caused by osteoarthritis, and for sports injuries.
In the knee there is a piece of cartilage, called meniscus that acts as a shock absorber between the shinbone and thighbone.
Protective Effect Against Meniscus Repair Failure Risk
Recently, researchers from The Ohio State University in Columbus evaluated the use of PRP, and whether or not it affects meniscus repair failure risk. Also if the effect of PRP on meniscus failure risk was influenced by ACL reconstruction status or by PRP preparation.
The team included a total of 550 patients into 2 groups. One group with patients who underwent meniscus repair surgery with PRP and those who did not receive PRP therapy.
The team found that those who did not receive PRP therapy experienced a meniscus failure rate of 17% compared to those who were given PRP had a 14.7% failure rate.
They concluded that PRP had a substantial protective effect on meniscus repair failure risk over the duration of the study, 3 years.
Everhart JS, Platelet-Rich Plasma Reduces Failure Risk for Isolated Meniscal Repairs but Provides No Benefit for Meniscal Repairs With Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. 2019. Am J Sports Med. doi: 10.1177/0363546519852616.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. “Does platelet-rich plasma therapy lower risk of meniscus repair.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190711150919.htm>.