Rotator cuff healing after needling of a calcific deposit using platelet-rich plasma augmentation: a randomized, prospective clinical trial

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2016 Feb;25(2):169-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2015.10.009.


Background: Arthroscopic needling of a rotator cuff calcification is a highly reliable operation in terms of pain relief and return of function. However, during the needling process, a cuff defect is created. Little is known about the evolution of this defect.

Methods: We conducted a prospective, randomized controlled clinical trial to investigate the evolution of the aforementioned defect and the role of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) augmentation in this healing process. Patients were randomized to either group 1 (PRP, n = 20) or group 2 (no PRP [control group], n = 20). Patients in group 1 received a perioperative PRP infiltration at the rotator cuff defect, whereas the control group did not. Patients were assessed clinically preoperatively and postoperatively at 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months, and 1 year. The Constant score, Simple Shoulder Test, and QuickDASH (short version of Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire) were used as outcome measures. The evolution of the cuff defect was evaluated on sonography at 3 and 6 months and with magnetic resonance imaging after 1 year.

Results: All patients improved significantly after surgery (P < .05). There was no difference in clinical outcome or rotator cuff healing between groups. We observed a high rate of persistent rotator cuff defects after 1 year in both groups. The presence of residual cuff defects did not influence the clinical outcome.

Conclusion: Arthroscopic needling is an operation with a predictive, good clinical outcome. We found a high rate of persistent rotator cuff defects after 1 year. This study could not identify any beneficial effect of the addition of PRP on rotator cuff healing.

Level of evidence: Level II; Randomized Controlled Trial; Treatment Study.

Keywords: PRP; Rotator cuff; healing; needling.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy*
  • Calcinosis / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery*
  • Wound Healing