An orthopedist who undergoes PRP and stem cell training at Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute in Utah will be prepared, at the conclusion of such training, to return home and begin offering the two therapies to patients. The orthopedist will have learned about the efficacy of the treatments as well as proper methods for using them. But he or she will not necessarily know how to have the regenerative medicine conversation with certain kinds of patients.

Medicine is about more than writing prescriptions and suggesting certain procedures. In fact, it is more about connecting with patients in a way that forms a partnership between them and their doctors. A successful partnership leads to better health. It creates a scenario in which patients are not afraid to ask questions, raise objections, and even suggest their own treatments.

Where using PRP therapy as a treatment for osteoarthritis is concerned, such discussions should begin with the degenerative nature of the disease itself. PRP therapy can work to fight tissue degeneration in osteoarthritis patients, thereby preventing further damage and drastically slowing down the progression of the disease.

PRP a Better Treatment

Advocates of PRP therapy for osteoarthritis see it as a better option than cortisone shots, knee braces, anti-inflammatory drugs, and knee replacement surgery. There is evidence to back up their beliefs. Consider a study conducted by the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) a few years back.

Researchers at the HSS worked with patients already showing signs of early onset osteoarthritis. The patients underwent PRP therapy and were then monitored for one year. Knee cartilage was evaluated with magnetic resonance imaging prior to the injections and then again at the one-year follow-up. Amazingly, the majority of the patients experienced no further cartilage loss despite that being the norm for patients who do not receive PRP therapy.

In addition, 73% of the participants reported less pain and improved function at the one-year follow-up. Using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index, researchers determined that patients experienced an overall reduction of pain at a rate of 41.7% at six months and nearly 56% at the one-year mark. Functional scores improved by more than 24% over the course of the trial.

What This Means to Doctors

An orthopedist offering PRP therapy is likely to treat osteoarthritis patients and people suffering from sports injuries. By beginning discussions with the degenerative nature of osteoarthritis, doctors can introduce the concept of preventing further damage through PRP therapy. This helps patients understand that PRP therapy is as much preventive as it is reactive.

Compare this to a traditional therapy that relies on prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs or undergoing cortisone shots. Neither of these two options really address the degenerative nature of osteoarthritis. They only treat the symptoms of the disease.

Given the option of treating symptoms or treating symptoms AND preventing further damage simultaneously, which option is the average patient likely to choose? The second option, obviously.

The fact that PRP therapy can actually work to fight against tissue degeneration makes it the obvious choice. Why would a patient given the opportunity to prevent further damage forgo that opportunity in favor of taking pain pills the rest of his or her life? The answer to that question should be self-evident.

We Need More PRP

The HSS study is by no means the only study of its kind. Many others have looked at PRP therapy as a treatment for osteoarthritis. If the results of all those studies are any indication, we need more PRP therapy. It is the only therapy that gives patients any hope of actually slowing down the progression of osteoarthritis.