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Platelet-rich Plasma in Orthopedic Therapy: A Comparative Systematic Review of Clinical and Experimental Data in Equine and Human Musculoskeletal Lesions


Platelet-rich Plasma in Orthopedic Therapy: A Comparative Systematic Review of Clinical and Experimental Data in Equine and Human Musculoskeletal Lesions

Patrícia M Brossi et al. BMC Vet Res.


Background: This systematic review aimed to present and critically appraise the available information on the efficacy of platelet rich plasma (PRP) in equine and human orthopedic therapeutics and to verify the influence of study design and methodology on the assumption of PRP's efficacy. We searched Medline, PubMed, Embase, Bireme and Google Scholar without restrictions until July 2013. Randomized trials, human cohort clinical studies or case series with a control group on the use of PRP in tendons, ligaments or articular lesions were included. Equine clinical studies on the same topics were included independently of their design. Experimental studies relevant to the clarification of PRP's effects and mechanisms of action in tissues of interest, conducted in any animal species, were selected.

Results: This review included 123 studies. PRP's beneficial effects were observed in 46.7% of the clinical studies, while the absence of positive effects was observed in 43.3%. Among experimental studies, 73% yielded positive results, and 7.9% yielded negative results. The most frequent flaws in the clinical trials' designs were the lack of a true placebo group, poor product characterization, insufficient blinding, small sampling, short follow-up periods, and adoption of poor outcome measures. The methods employed for PRP preparation and administration and the selected outcome measures varied greatly. Poor study design was a common feature of equine clinical trials. From studies in which PRP had beneficial effects, 67.8% had an overall high risk of bias. From the studies in which PRP failed to exhibit beneficial effects, 67.8% had an overall low risk of bias.

Conclusions: Most experimental studies revealed positive effects of PRP. Although the majority of equine clinical studies yielded positive results, the human clinical trials' results failed to corroborate these findings. In both species, beneficial results were more frequently observed in studies with a high risk of bias. The use of PRP in musculoskeletal lesions, although safe and promising, has still not shown strong evidence in clinical scenarios.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow diagram for identification of published studies. PRISMA 2009.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Association between risk of bias and clinical studies’ results.

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