Platelet-Rich Plasma for Knee Osteoarthritis: Internet Marketing and Patient Education—An Appraisal of Content for Websites with the Greatest Search Engine Visibility

Shemesh S. Shai, Ribenzaft Z. Shay, Juan Pretell-Mazzini, Frenkel Rutenberg Tal, Cohen Nir, Haviv Barak, Velkes Steven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The internet is increasingly being used as a resource for health-related information by the general public. We sought to establish the authorship, content, and accuracy of the information available online regarding platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy for knee osteoarthritis. Design: Top 200 search results from each of the 3 leading search engines available online (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) were screened, and 181 websites were finally reviewed for content with emphasis on specific claims, comparing between websites authored by private physicians/groups and other authorship types. Results: Nearly 80% of the websites claimed that PRP injections for osteoarthritis of the knee improve patients’ pain. A total of 42.8% of the private websites and 27.6% of nonprivate websites have stated that the procedure can delay or eliminate the need for future surgery. Costs were only mentioned by few (11.6%), and mainly by the nonprivate websites. Both website groups were unlikely to mention that PRP therapy is not the treatment of choice for end-stage knee osteoarthritis (7.9% of private and 17.2% of the nonprivate sites), or to state that patients with less advanced disease may benefit more from the treatment (11.8% and 20.6%, respectively). Private websites were less likely to refer to peer-reviewed literature (18.4% vs. 41.4%) and were more than 3 times less likely to mention lack of adequate evidence (13.2% vs. 48.2%). Conclusions: Patients seeking online information regarding PRP therapy are vulnerable to websites presenting a narrow viewpoint of this treatment modality, putting emphasis on unsubstantiated benefits while disregarding potential drawbacks and concerns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCartilage
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • PRP
  • internet
  • online information
  • patient education
  • platelet-rich plasma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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