Platelet-rich plasma: a narrative review

EFORT Open Rev. 2021 Apr 1;6(4):225-235. doi: 10.1302/2058-5241.6.200017. eCollection 2021 Apr.


The aim of this article was to synopsize platelet-rich plasma (PRP) use in musculoskeletal pathologies through evidence-based assessment of the preparation, classification, mechanism of action and applications of PRP, thereby answering which PRP type is best for each clinical indication.The literature search was performed using Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane Reviews databases for papers containing the key terms "platelet-rich plasma" AND "orthopaedics" AND ("classification" OR "mechanism of action" OR "preparation" OR "clinical application"). Generated papers were evaluated for pertinence in following areas: preparation, classification, mechanism of action, clinical application within orthopaedics. Non-English papers were excluded. Included studies were evaluated for quality.Sixty studies were included in our review. There are many commercial PRP preparation kits with differing component concentrations. There is no consensus on optimal component concentrations. Multiple PRP classifications exist but none have been validated. Platelet-rich plasma acts via growth factors (GFs) released from α-granules within platelets. Growth factors have been shown to be beneficial in healing. Grossly elevated concentrations of GFs may have inhibitory effects on healing. Multiple systematic reviews show efficacy of PRP in tendinopathies, early osteoarthritis, acute muscle injuries and in combination with rotator cuff repair and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.The literature suggests leukocyte-rich PRP (L-PRP) is more beneficial in tendinopathies and pure PRP (P-PRP) is more beneficial in cartilage pathology. However, different PRP preparations have not been directly compared in any pathology. Classification of PRP type is frequently not stated in research. Standardization of PRP research parameters is needed to streamline findings and generate clear indications for PRP types to yield maximum clinical benefit. Cite this article: EFORT Open Rev 2021;6:225-235. DOI: 10.1302/2058-5241.6.200017.

Keywords: orthopaedics; osteoarthritis; platelet-rich plasma; soft tissue; sports and exercise medicine.

Publication types

  • Review