Key Points in the Regeneration of the Knee: Stem Cells versus Platelet Rich Plasma
In the 21st century, the Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment has begun to be used in the regeneration of knee and cartilage abnormalities.
From the patient’s blood, it is possible to treat the patient with Platelet Rich Plasma through a centrifuge of the blood sample. The aim of this centrifuge is to get the richest fraction growth factors. Growth factors are proteins that regulate the inflammatory response and facilitate recovery from injury. It has been shown, after the application of PRP, there is a decreased pain, and the patient’s quality of life improves.
There are two methods for this type of treatment: one is the “open method” with manual pipetting, and another one is the “closed method” through disposable kits. Depending on the system used, the platelet concentration may vary.
The open pipetting method involves some risk. On the one hand, there is a danger of a disease transmission. Moreover, on the contrary, growth factors are of lower purity as they perform manually.The closed method, however, guarantees better results. It is mechanical, and it uses disposable kits. With this method, we can achieve a purity of growth factors due to a uniform ultra platelet concentration.
Platelet Rich Plasma regeneration
Treatment with Platelet Rich Plasma has been recently extended, for its effectiveness, in the healing of injuries or relief of symptoms in the patient. However, before choosing a treatment, it is advisable to collect information and find the best option.
Stem Cells Do not confuse the platelet system with stem cells because there are significant differences.It is not possible to extract stem cells from the peripheral blood, only from the place where they are located (inside bones and body fat).They are also present in our body from birth. Once they become adult stem cells, they can be used to regenerate articular cartilage. Regarding the extraction process, cells are extracted under anaesthesia during knee arthroscopy (keyhole surgery).
With this method, you can regenerate the knee with hyaline cartilage (due to osteoarthritis or cartilage abnormalities), both in young and elderly patients, as we have already argued in our casuistry.
Today, thanks to this system, we can solve many cases that could not be solved by conventional techniques.As with all techniques, only time and research refine the use of these treatments to improve results in the short and long term.
To sum up:
– Stem cells have a high capacity for regeneration.
– PRP is an effective anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and a joint optimizer.
– Platelet Plasma is a biological treatment. If we want it to be effective, it is not possible to mix it with animal-derived substances such as hyaluronic acid. As we see, the application of PRP and stem cells are promising treatments from which, today, we are already getting fruitful and satisfactory results in real patients.
Dr. Simón Campos
Traumatologist specialist in knee and sports injuries