The role of platelet-rich plasma in inducing musculoskeletal tissue healing

HSS J. 2012 Jul;8(2):137-45. doi: 10.1007/s11420-011-9239-7. Epub 2012 Jan 18.


Background: Platelet-rich plasma [PRP] has received increasing interest across many musculoskeletal disciplines and has been widely applied clinically to stimulate tissue healing in numerous anatomical regions. The known actions of platelet-derived factors suggest that PRP may have significant potential in the treatment of pathological conditions of cartilage, tendon, ligament, and muscle.

Purpose: The aim of this manuscript is to review current literature regarding the biology of PRP and the efficacy of using PRP to augment healing of tendon ligament and muscle injuries, as well as early osteoarthritis.

Methods: A comprehensive literature review of musculoskeletal applications of PRP was performed, including basic science and clinical studies such as randomized controlled trials, case controlled series, and case series.

Results: The most compelling evidence to support the efficacy of PRP is for its application to tendon damage associated with lateral and medial epicondylitis. Although some promising studies have been reported supporting the use of PRP in osteoarthritis and ligament and muscle injuries, it currently remains unknown whether PRP effectively alters the progression of osteoarthritis or aids the healing of ligament and muscle tissues.

Conclusion: The rationale for the use of PRP to improve tissue healing is strong, but the efficacy for many musculoskeletal applications remains unproven. PRP has been shown to be a safe treatment. A number of questions regarding PRP remain unanswered, including the optimal concentration of platelets, what cell types should be present, the ideal frequency of application, or the optimal rehabilitation regimen for tissue repair and return to full function.

Keywords: healing; ligament; osteoarthritis; platelet-rich plasma; tendon.