Regenerative knee joint injections offer an effective therapeutic option for patients with mild, moderate or even severe knee joint arthritis. The regenerative injections that I offer are Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) from the patient’s own blood and Glucose Prolotherapy using a strong sugar solution. Both of these injections aim to stimulate an enhanced healing response in the knee joint to reduce pain and improve function.
In many ways, Platelet Rich Plasma injections might be thought of as a modern refinement of Glucose Prolotherapy. Although both treatments are effective, I tend to recommend PRP injections over Prolotherapy because significantly fewer treatments tend to be required (2 v’s 4-6 injections) and the results seem to be a little better as well. Studies have demonstrated significant improvement in pain and function with Platelet Rich Plasma injections for knee arthritis. These improvements tend to be evident within a few weeks and keep increasing out to 12 months. Other studies have confirmed that Glucose Prolotherapy produces lasting pain relief superior to either exercise or saline injections. Improved cartilage coverage in severely arthritic knees has also been demonstrated in a recent double-blinded arthroscopic trial of prolotherapy.
This is the original “Regenerative Injection Therapy” and has been used since the 1930’s. It uses irritating injections of a strong sugar solution to stimulate enhanced healing of ligaments and cartilage around joints. It can be transiently painful to have performed and generally requires a series of fortnightly injections to build its effect. However, the joint hardware improvements achieved with prolotherapy tend to last into the medium and long term.
PRP-Injections (platelet-rich plasma)
These are a newer type of “Regenerative Injection Therapy”. They involve drawing some blood off the patient and spinning it down in a special tube to isolate the “platelet-rich plasma”. This PRP solution is then re-injected into the patient’s joint, ligament or tendon to enhance healing.
Dr. Chris Homan
MBBS FRACGP FACRRM DRANZCOG PGDipMSM(Otago)