Study: Injections improve knee osteoarthritis without surgery

The next big treatment for knee osteoarthritis (OA) may not be surgical, according to a new study conducted by orthopedic researchers.

Injections of autologous conditioned plasma (ACP), a solution containing plasma from the resident’s own blood and delivered directly in the knee joint, helped reduce pain, swelling and range of motion by almost three-quarters, with no noticeable side effects, noted a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Participants in the trial saw a 78 percent improvement in osteoarthritis baseline scores after receiving three weekly treatments and the effects lasted for a year, the study noted. Reductions of 76 percent to 77 percent were noted in stiffness and pain scores as well.

The study is the first to explore the safety and efficacy of blood plasma injections specifically for the treatment of knee OA.  The treatment has generated a lot of interest because it’s based on platelet-rich plasma obtained from the patient’s own body just minutes before injection delivery. The “home-grown” blood product contains growth prompters that aid in tissue regeneration and the reduction of swelling, researchers said.

"Given the increasing incidence of OA, I think more treatment options, especially non-operative treatment options, is a great thing, and I think these injections will change the direction towards a non-operative approach to OA," said Carlos Meheux, MD, orthopedic surgical physician at Houston Methodist Hospital, in a MedPageToday article.

OA is one of the most prevalent conditions resulting in disability, particularly among older adults, notes the National Institutes of Health.

Topics: Clinical , Rehabilitation