Hip surgery for femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) is incredibly common. All surgery creates a huge demand for healing. A recent study looks at whether adding platelet-rich plasma (PRP) at the end of hip arthroscopy improves surgical outcomes.

PRP is made by extracting and concentrating the platelets in a patient’s blood, and is an effective treatment. Platelets contain healing growth components that increase the body’s natural ability to repair itself. The platelets have a stimulating effect on the stem cells within the damaged area. Since stem cells play a key role in repairing damaged tissue, anything that causes the stem cells to work harder promotes better healing. All PRP is not the same, however. Regenexx SCP is a proprietary PRP formula containing 10 to 40 times the number of platelets found in regular PRP. It’s processed in a specially equipped onsite lab by a skilled technician rather in a bedside centrifuge. This allows for much greater concentration, and parts of the blood that can cause inflammation and inhibit optimum stem-cell growth are removed, resulting in its significantly better treatment results.

The objective of the study published May 15, 2015, in Arthroscopy was to evaluate the effects of placing PRP within the joints of patients at the end of arthroscopic FAI surgery. Researchers looked at 57 patients, 30 who received PRP and 27 who did not. All of the patients received MRIs prior to surgery. Joint effusion and labral integration was evaluated using MRI at six months, and various metrics were used to evaluate pain and surgical outcomes at 24 hours, 48 hours, three months, and six months after surgery. The study concluded that PRP resulted in lower postoperative pain scores at 48 hours and fewer joint effusions at six months, suggesting that PRP is beneficial, and that future studies should be done to look at more long-term results.

The basis for hip-impingement surgery has become controversial. Recent studies have shown that the impingement is not caused by osteoarthritis as previously thought, but instead is additional bone manufactured by the joint to regain its stability, thus protecting the joint and preventing further osteoarthritis. Cutting out this bone, which exists for a specific purpose, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense—but for patients who are going to have hip-impingement surgery, a PRP shot seems to help.

“PRP Improves Hip Arthroscopy Outcomes” first appeared as a post on the Regenexx blog.