Can Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections TMJD?

Many patients suffering from the pain and stiffness that often accompanies temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder are willing to do just about anything to find relief. Unfortunately, though well worth the time investment, most conventional treatments can take months or even years to pay off, as there is no “quick-fix” treatment for the condition. That’s why researchers are taking a closer look at the condition and trying to find a way to get maximum relief in as short a time as possible. Recently, researchers in Taiwan set out to discover if platelet-rich plasma injections into the temporomandibular joint were effective at treating TMJ disorder. The researchers searched already-published reports to see if platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections made any difference in patients’ pain and also in jaw flexibility. Dr. Alexandra George did not participate in the study but was not surprised by the findings. “What they ended up discovering is that, while there was a slight reduction in pain, the PRP had no real effect on the stiffness of the jaw,” she says. The good news, however, is that the injections did work better than placebo and hyaluronic acid at reducing pain. Studies have shown that hyaluronic acid worked better at improving jaw flexibility than platelet-rich plasma did. “What this shows us is that when it comes to TMJ disorder, for now, slow and steady still wins the race,” says George. “It would be wonderful if there were a miraculous quick fix, but unfortunately there isn’t, and for now the best way to treat temporomandibular joint disorder is still a combination of neuromuscular orthodontics and sometimes additional physical therapy. The good news is it will pay off in the end if you stick with it.”

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