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Knee Surg Relat Res. 2012 Jun;24(2):70-8. doi: 10.5792/ksrr.2012.24.2.70. Epub 2012 May 31.

Platelet-rich plasma therapy for knee joint problems: review of the literature, current practice and legal perspectives in Korea.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a concentrate extract of platelets from autologous blood, and represents a possible treatment option for the stimulation and acceleration of soft-tissue healing and regeneration in orthopedics. Currently, the availability of devices for outpatient preparation and delivery contributes to the increase in the clinical use of PRP therapy in practical setting of orthopedic fields. However, there is still paucity of scientific evidence in the literature to prove efficacy of PRP therapy for the treatment of ligament or tendon problems around the knee joint. Moreover, strong evidence from well-designed clinical trials to support the PRP therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee joint is yet scanty in the literature. Scientific studies need to be performed to assess clinical indications, efficacy, and safety of PRP, and this will require high powered randomized controlled trials. Nonetheless, some hospitals exaggeratedly advertise PRP procedures as the ultimate treatment and a novel technology with abundant scientific evidence for the treatment of knee problems. As a matter of fact, PRP protocols are currently approved only for use in clinical trials and research, and are not allowed for treatment purpose by any institutions in Korea. At present, clinical use of PRP therapy for ligament or tendon problems or osteoarthritis of knee joint is defined as illegal medical practice, regardless of whether it is performed as a sole procedure or as a part of prolotherapy, because the safety and validity are not yet approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare and Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service. Practicing physicians should remember that injection of PRP to patients by imposing medical charge is still illegal as per the current medical law in Korea.


Knee joint; Ligament; Osteoarthritis; Platelet-rich plasma; Tendon

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