Patellar tendon healing with platelet-rich plasma: a prospective randomized controlled trial

Am J Sports Med. 2012 Jun;40(6):1282-8. doi: 10.1177/0363546512441344. Epub 2012 Apr 2.


Background: The patellar tendon has limited ability to heal after harvesting its central third. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) could improve patellar tendon healing.

Hypothesis: Adding PRP to the patellar tendon harvest site would improve donor site healing and improve clinical outcome at 6 months after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction with a patellar tendon graft.

Study design: Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.

Methods: Twenty-seven patients were randomly divided to receive (n = 12) or not receive (n = 15) PRP in the patellar tendon harvest site during ACL reconstruction. The primary outcome was magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) assessment of patellar tendon healing (gap area) after 6 months. Secondary outcomes were questionnaires and isokinetic testing of ACL reconstruction with a patellar tendon graft comparing both groups.

Results: Patellar tendon gap area was significantly smaller in the PRP group (4.9 ± 5.3 mm(2); 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-8.8) than in the control group (9.4 ± 4.4 mm(2); 95% CI, 6.6-12.2; P = .046). Visual analog scale score for pain was lower in the PRP group immediately postoperatively (3.8 ± 1.0; 95% CI, 3.18-4.49) than in the control group (5.1 ± 1.4; 95% CI, 4.24-5.90; P = .02). There were no differences after 6 months in questionnaire and isokinetic testing results comparing both groups.

Conclusion: We showed that PRP had a positive effect on patellar tendon harvest site healing on MRI after 6 months and also reduced pain in the immediate postoperative period. Questionnaire and isokinetic testing results were not different between the groups at 6 months.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction / methods*
  • Bone-Patellar Tendon-Bone Grafting / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative
  • Patellar Ligament / surgery*
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Tendon Injuries / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult