Is Platelet-Rich Plasma an Ideal Biomaterial for Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

J Orthop Surg Res. 2019 Jun 20;14(1):183. doi: 10.1186/s13018-019-1207-9.


Background: Recently, many authors have reported the effects of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) on rotator cuff repair. Whether PRP treatment during arthroscopic rotator cuff repair improves tendon healing rates or restores full function remains unknown. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the clinical improvement and radiological outcomes of PRP treatment in patients undergoing arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.

Methods: PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched. The study included only level 1 or 2 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that compared the injection of platelet-rich plasma or platelet-rich fibrin matrix. The methodological quality of the trials was assessed using the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, 5.3. Continuous variables were analysed using the weighted mean difference, and categorical variables were assessed using relative risks. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: The meta-analysis revealed a lower retear rate following PRP treatment than that following the control method (mean difference, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.18; P = 0.004). Constant shoulder scores improved with PRP (mean difference, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.02 to 3.61; P = 0.0005). PRP treatment also resulted in higher UCLA scores (mean difference, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.27 to 1.69; P = 0.007), and simple shoulder test scores were improved (mean difference, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.75; P = 0.008). Finally, lower visual analogue scale scores were observed with PRP augmentation (mean difference, - 0.35; 95% CI, - 0.57 to - 0.13; P = 0.002).

Conclusions: The current systematic review and meta-analysis reveals that PRP treatment with arthroscopic repair of rotator cuff tears decreases the retear rate and improves the clinical outcomes.

Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42016048416.

Keywords: Arthroscopic; Meta-analysis; Platelet-rich plasma; Rotator cuff.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rotator Cuff / surgery
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries / surgery*