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Journal of the American Osteopathic Association Study Finds Platelet-Rich Plasma Shows Promise in Non-Surgical Healing

Patients’ Desire to Avoid Surgery Sparking Small, Early Studies of Controversial Therapy for Arthritis and Other Musculoskeletal Ailments

CHICAGO—January 27, 2015—An analysis in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) found that early studies of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy for knee, elbow and tendon injuries produced better, long-lasting improvements than surgical or steroid treatments for some patients.

PRP is considered a controversial therapy, in part because only a few small clinical trials have been conducted. The study, conducted by researchers form the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Miami Miller School Of Medicine, analyzed those trials and found PRP, a form of regenerative medicine, reduced pain and improved function better than steroid treatment over longer periods of time. In some trials reviewed, patients showed sustained improvements at one and two years post-treatment.

While results varied, statistically significant improvements were observed in patients with knee pain caused by osteoarthritis as well as those suffering from other musculoskeletal disorders involving knees, elbows and tendons.

“Osteopathic medicine teaches us that the human organism possesses an innate ability to heal itself. These principles of regenerative medicine have led to several new applications of human-derived products for improving health. Platelet-rich plasma therapy is derived from the patient’s own blood, delivering growth factors directly to sites of injury and activating the reparative process,” said JAOA Editor in Chief, Robert Orenstein, DO, an infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic Arizona.

“By inciting and augmenting inflammation, PRP appears to enhance tissue repair resulting in progressive functional improvements. Large, well-controlled studies are needed to assess the full potential of PRP and similar biological products in providing pain and symptom relief to patients with musculoskeletal injury,” Dr. Orenstein added.

The study, conducted by researchers form the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Miami Miller School Of Medicine, noted that PRP has minimal clinical support, though interest is increasing as patients seek nonsurgical approaches to musculoskeletal injury and disease.

The treatment was most famously used in 2008 when Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward competed in the Super Bowl despite sustaining a torn medical collateral ligament two weeks before the big game. Ward reportedly received a series of PRP injections to accelerate the healing process.

The complete study is available online until March 31, 2015.

About The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association

The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA) is the official scientific publication of the American Osteopathic Association. Edited by Robert Orenstein, DO, it is the premier scholarly peer-reviewed publication of the osteopathic medical profession. The JAOA’s mission is to advance medicine through the publication of peer-reviewed osteopathic research.

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Media Contact:    

Sheridan Chaney
(312) 202-8043 (Office)
schaney@osteopathic.org

 

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