Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for acute muscle injury: a systematic review

PLoS One. 2014 Feb 28;9(2):e90538. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090538. eCollection 2014.


Introduction: Acute muscle injury is one of the commonest injuries that often result in loss of training and competition time. The best management for muscle injury has not been identified. Sports medicine practitioners used several approaches in attempt to accelerate time to recovery from muscle injury. More recently growing interest focussed on autologous blood product injection.

Methods: A literature search was conducted systematically using OvidMEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus and CINAHL databases to retrieve articles published until December 2012. Controlled trials and controlled laboratory studies comparing different strategies to promote early recovery of muscle injury were included. The methodological quality of studies was assessed.

Results: There are limited studies on the effects of PRP therapy for muscle injury. Three in vivo laboratory studies and one pilot human study were reviewed. The laboratory studies reported histological evidence on significant acceleration of muscle healing in animals treated with autologous conditioned serum (ACS), platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and platelet rich fibrin matrix (PRFM). A pilot human study found athletes treated with repeated ACS injection recovers significantly faster than retrospective controls.

Conclusion: Several in vivo laboratory studies suggest beneficial effects of ACS, PRP and PRFM in accelerating muscle recovery. Evidence to suggest similar effects on humans is however limited, as valuable information from robust human controlled trials is still not available at this moment. Hence, more studies of satisfactory methodological quality with platelet-rich plasma interventions on muscle injury are justified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Muscular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Muscular Diseases / therapy*
  • Platelet Transfusion / methods
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Sports Medicine / methods
  • Sports Medicine / trends
  • Treatment Outcome

Grants and funding

This study was supported by grants from the University Malaya Research Grant (RG382/11HTM) and Institute of Research Management and Monitoring (IPPP) University Malaya Research Grant (UM.C/241/9). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.