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Stem Cells and Platelet-rich Plasma for Knee Osteoarthritis: Prevalence and Cost in South Florida

Alcerro, Jose C. MD; Lavernia, Carlos J. MD, FAAOS

JAAOS - Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: October 15, 2019 - Volume 27 - Issue 20 - p 779-783
doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-18-00343
Research Article

Introduction: The use of stem cell therapy (SCT) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection for knee osteoarthritis (OA) is extremely controversial and at best experimental stage. These treatments are being offered across the nation for “cash-only payments.” Our objectives were to determine (1) what proportion of board-certified orthopedic surgeons in Miami-Dade County offer SCT or PRP and (2) how much do practices charge for these services.

Methods: All board-certified orthopedic surgeons' offices in Miami-Dade County were identified by their American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons active membership. Offices were contacted and presented a hypothetical patient with end-stage OA searching for treatment (SCT or PRP injections) before having to undergo surgery.

Results: Of the 96 registered American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons member's offices, 91 (94.7%) were contacted, 36% of offices offered PRP, and 24.5% offered SCT. However, 81% of the offices were transparent on the pricing of PRP, whereas 42% gave a price for SCT. Remaining practices stated that pricing would be “determined or discussed” during a scheduled visit. Mean cost for PRP injection was $897 (range, $350 to $1,700), and for SCT injection, it was $3,100 (range, $1,200 to $6,000).

Discussion: Biological injectables as treatment of knee OA have potential use in the nonsurgical management of this disease. Data on the effectiveness are lacking and are conflicting. Data should continue to be investigational.

Level of Evidence: Level IV

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Arthritis Surgery Research Foundation, Coral Gables, FL (Dr. Alcerro), the Department of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL (Dr. Lavernia), the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (Dr. Lavernia), Florida International University, and the Department of Physical Therapy (Dr. Lavernia), Florida International University, University Park, FL.

Correspondence to Dr. Alcerro:

Dr. Lavernia or an immediate family member has received IP royalties from MAKO Surgical/Stryker; has stock or stock options held in Johnson & Johnson, Stryker, Symmetry Medical (Telcomet), Wright Medical Technology, and Zimmer Biomet. Neither Dr. Alcerro nor any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

Copyright 2018 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
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