Does Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Really Work?

PRP Injection for Tendon Tear

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) continues to be the buzz when treating various musculoskeletal problems. It stimulates the body’s healing response for tissue repair at the site of injury. While the best applications so far are for chronic tendinosis and osteoarthritis, a recent national orthopaedic meeting presented even more positive studies on the effect of PRP in arthritis.

Initial studies demonstrated positive effects of PRP on horse tendons by stimulating gene expression and improved tendon synthesis. Multiple clinical studies reinforced this data by showing significant improvement in cases of chronic tennis elbow. Our study of 114 patients treated with PRP for either tennis or golfer’s elbow (tendinosis) showed a significant decrease in pain scores and a simultaneous increase in functional and sports/recreational activity scores at six months, one year and two years from treatment baseline. MRI in a limited number of patients compared to baseline demonstrated an improvement in appearance of moderate and severe tendinosis (58%) and partial tears (44%). Other studies have also showed the benefit of PRP in chronic patellar and achilles tendinosis.

In early research investigating PRP treatment for severe arthritis, clinical improvement is seen, as well as a positive effect on cartilage cells. In addition, multiple studies have followed patients for up to one year post treatment. We studied 22 patients treated with PRP for knee osteoarthritis, finding that pain scores significantly decreased, while functional and clinical scores increased at six months and one year from baseline. MRI evaluations demonstrated no progression of arthritis/compartment in at least 73% of the cases at one year. This is in contrast to some studies that suggest an annual decrease of up to 4-6% of cartilage volume (a worsening of arthritis) in knee osteoarthritis if left untreated.

So with PRP intervention perhaps we can delay some of the progression of arthritis. We have now treated over 350 patients with knee osteoarthritis with PRP and continue to see good results. The future looks bright for PRP and regenerative medicine. Tapping into your body’s healing response continues to be an exciting frontier.


Dr. Brian Halpern is a sports medicine physician at Hospital for Special Surgery. He “pioneered the non-operative approach to acute and chronic musculoskeletal problems.”

Topics: Orthopedics
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.


  1. Will PRP help my Rheumatoid arthritis shoulders? I am on Actemra and 2 1/2 mg. of prenisone. I want to avoid shoulder replacements. I am 75 years old.

    1. Hi Astrid, thank you for reaching out. Dr. Brian Halpern, Orthopedic Surgeon, says: “PRP has a good response for osteoarthritis, but is very variable for rheumatoid arthritis. I would not suggest PRP for rheumatoid arthritis active disease.” It is best for you to seek an in-person consultation with a physician or consult with your treating physician so that they can determine the best course of treatment. If you wish to receive care at HSS, please contact our Physician Referral Service at 877-606-1555 for further assistance.

    1. Hi Dave, thank you for reaching out. Dr. Brian Halpern, Sports Medicine Physician, says: “There have been some published papers on PRP use for rotator cuff disease- helpful for tendinosis or partial tears but not helpful when combined with surgery. There’s not much per shoulder arthritis, but our experience is very helpful for this as well if not too severe.” It is important to consult with your treating physician. If you wish to receive care at HSS, please call our Physician Referral Service at 877-606-1555 for further assistance.

  2. Seeking info as to hip area and if this procedure has been tried. Would like contact info for des. In Fort Myers on Naples Florida who perform PRP. Thank you

  3. I have a lot of pain from osteo arthritis in multiple areas of my body. I live in Southern California, zip code 90712. It is painful for me to drive too far. I can only use one hand driving. Do you have any recommendations of any doctors
    that practice PRP in this area? Thank you.

  4. Dr. John Kennedy@ HSS used PRP treatment during his surgical repair of my Jones Fracture. I have been to Dr. Magid, Rheumatologist at HSS to inquire about PRP for osteoarthritis of my knuckles. Although he is not administering it, possibly a hand surgeon at HSS is. Please advise, the pain is not pleasant. I, too, know that insurance does not cover PRP treatment. Thank You

  5. I suffer from Arthritis in both knees. I have been under treatment of Dr. Goldstein of New York Hospital for Joint Diseases. He gave me physical therapy and a course of some type of injection with zero improvement. I do not want to go for knee replacement surgery. I would like to be treated with PRP at Hospital for Special Surgery by Dr. Halpern or any ither Doctor. I know that this treatment may not be covered by my insurance AETNA HMO offered by NYC Department of Transportation. I am ready to pay on my own, if need be. Please inform me what should I do to get treated at this Hospital? Thanks

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