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This literature review explores the efficacy of minimally invasive therapies that precede and delay surgical intervention in adult patients experiencing functional limitations and pain in major joints. The effectiveness of physical therapy and injections such as corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, platelet-rich plasma, and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) was evaluated. A comprehensive search of PubMed utilizing MeSH terms yielded 114 relevant studies, which were screened based on inclusion criteria of human studies published within the past five years. Keywords included mesenchymal stem cells, stem cells, mesenchymal, arthroplasty, and joints. Producing few results, inclusion criteria were later expanded to include studies within the past ten years, their references, articles citing results, and articles similar to results. Of note, the chondrotoxic nature of corticosteroid (CS) injections suggests alternative first-line therapies in hyaluronic acid (HA) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP), particularly in earlier stages of disease. Regarding MSC findings, low side-effect profiles with evidence of induced regeneration are encouraging, but studies that evaluate their effectiveness compared to other treatments are lacking. Although MSC therapies lack a robust evidence base, their potential warrants further investigation.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

Date of Work


First Advisor

Metzger, Jay

Publication Date

Spring 2024


Medicine and Health Sciences

Minimally Invasive Therapies in the Treatment of Arthropathy