Platelet-rich plasma for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers: A meta-analysis

Wound Repair Regen. 2019 Mar;27(2):170-182. doi: 10.1111/wrr.12690. Epub 2018 Dec 21.


Foot ulcer is a major complication of diabetes mellitus and often precedes leg amputation. Among the different methods to achieve ulcer healing, the use of platelet-rich plasma, which is rich in multiple growth factors and cytokines and may have similarities to the natural wound healing process, is gaining in popularity. A systematic review with meta-analyses was performed to evaluate the safety and clinical effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers compared to standard treatment or any other alternative therapy. The electronic databases Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were consulted in March 2017 with no restrictions placed on the publication date. Predefined criteria were used to determine inclusion of studies and to assess their methodologic quality. Eight randomized clinical trials and two prospective longitudinal-observational studies with control group were included. Platelet-rich plasma treatment increased the likelihood of chronic wound healing (RR = 1.32; 95% CI: 1.11, 1.57, I2 = 15%) while the volume of the ulcer (MD = 0.12 cm2 ; 95% CI: 0.08, 0.16; p < 0.01; I2 = 0%) and time to complete wound healing (MD = -11.18 days; 95% CI: -20.69, -1.68; I2 = 53%) decreased. Regarding safety profile, platelet-rich plasma did not differ from standard treatment in terms of probability of occurrence of wound complications (RR = 0.57; 95% CI: 0.25, 1.28; I2 = 0%) or recurrences (RR = 2.76; 95% CI: 0.23, 33.36; p = 0.43; I2 = 82%) but it decreased the rate of adverse events (RR = 0.80; 95% CI: 0.66, 0.96; p = 0.02; I2 = 0%). Cumulative meta-analysis revealed that there is enough evidence to demonstrate a statistically significant benefit. However, studies included presented serious methodologic flaws. According to the results, platelet-rich plasma could be considered a candidate treatment for nonhealing of diabetic foot ulcers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Foot / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Platelet Transfusion / methods
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Wound Healing / physiology