At the London Foot and Ankle Centre we provide expert assessment for your patients and discuss all treatment options. There are some “options” however that we do not offer. As responsible doctors we practice Evidence Based Medicine, in line with GMC Guidance.
One type of treatment that patients often enquire about are Blood Product injections (e.g. Platelet-Rich-Plasma). This is a seductive notion: remove some of the patient’s blood; spin it down to isolate the “goodness” and re-inject that into the painful area to promote healing.
Unfortunately there is currently no good evidence to support these treatments.
This does not prevent others from using it, sometimes liberally. Blood products and other “biological therapies” are completely unregulated, because of a loophole in the Law. Blood is not a prosthesis and neither it is a medicine. Medicines and prostheses are well regulated, but these “innovative therapies” are not.
At this year’s British Orthopaedic Association Conference there was an entire session devoted to responsible use of biologic/blood treatments. Regulation is being sought. Specialists are encouraged to only use these treatments as part of an on-going study.
One study that was recently completed involved use of PRP in Achilles tendon pain. No benefit was demonstrated. This well conducted trial adds to the prior evidence of the PATH-2 study which found no benefit in the use of PRP injection for healing ruptures of the Achilles tendon.
One day science may demonstrate that blood products or other biological therapies are beneficial.
Until such time we’d advise that patients be wary of false hope from unregulated and unproven therapies. However promising they may sound.