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Could Platelet-Rich Plasma be better than Hyaluronic Acid?

Anyone who is already living and working within the field of treatments for symptomatic OA has seen the dramatic rise of platelet rich plasma as something that has shot waves across the scientific community, and this latest development has come as no surprise to many of us who have watched the journey of this new treatment with interest. Hyaluronic acid has been the accepted treatment option for many years, and while there is nothing specifically wrong with it, it has been surprising to see such a brilliant alternative come to market so quickly, and with so few side effects whatsoever. Now that another study that pitched it against platelet rich plasma has declared the latter the winner, it is hard to see how anyone can continue to demand the former.

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The study was undertaken by Brian Cole of Rush University Medical Center, an institution that has been ranked number four in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In his position as associate chairman and professor of the Department of Orthopedics, as well as chairman of the Department of Surgery at Rush (ignoring his role as the Chairman of Surgery at Rush Oak Park Hospital), he is the author of over a thousand articles and tens of textbooks in regenerative medicine. The study took 111 patients who had symptomatic unilateral knee problems, and observed them for one year as half of them were given platelet rich plasma as their treatment method, and the other have were given hyaluronic acid. There were five treatments given of each method over the year, and no one knew exactly what treatment type they were receiving.

After the year was up, all of the patients were tested for IKDC, and the scores for the platelet rich plasma group were significantly higher than the other. In fact, the paper’s reports states that, ‘significant improvements were seen in other patient-reported outcome measures’, which suggests that platelet rich plasma’s natural anti-inflammatory properties made themselves known to the patients! These findings are truly remarkable when you consider that hyaluronic acid is itself a critical substance that the body requires for permitting the bones in our bodies to glide naturally past one another. When there is not enough of this hyaluronic acid within the body, stiffness and pain is experienced by the patient, and this develops into osteoarthritis.

Our medical understanding until now has been that the only method of treatment that is likely to enjoy any success is the obvious one: to inject further amounts of hyaluronic acid into the body in order to increase the amount. Yet it is clearly not that simple. Although our naturally occurring hyaluronic acid offers our bodies these traits, it appears that bioengineered hyaluronic acid simply does not. There is something missing in our understanding of it which means that it does not create the same benefits that you would expect.

That is why many experts are now believing that the $13 billion dollar hyaluronic acid industry may be about to completely collapse in on itself. After all, now that more and more people are proving through demonstrable studies that platelet rich plasma offers a much better patient treatment rate – and better general experience – why would anyone choose to have anything else? Anyone who has osteoarthritis could see their quality of life dramatically improved by the choice of platelet rich plasma, and no more unnecessary money will be spent on a treatment that does not seem to work anything like as well. Medical professionals are now being advised to offer their patients platelet rich plasma.

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