Research trends of platelet-rich plasma application in orthopaedics from 2002 to 2020: a bibliometric analysis

Int Orthop. 2021 Nov;45(11):2773-2790. doi: 10.1007/s00264-021-05163-6. Epub 2021 Aug 2.


Background: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been widely used to treat various orthopaedic diseases, and there are a large number of studies on the matter. However, there have been no bibliometric reports on the publications in this field. Bibliometrics is an excellent method to systematically evaluate the current research status of a specific field. In this study, CiteSpace 5.7.R2 software was used to analyse the status, hotspots, and frontiers of PRP in the treatment of orthopaedic diseases in the past 19 years.

Methods: All articles about the application of PRP in orthopaedics from 2002 to 2020 were searched from the Web of Science Core Collection. The author, country, institution, journal, cited journal, and keywords were retrieved, and the bibliometric analysis was done in CiteSpace 5.7.R2.

Results: A total of 321 articles were retrieved. The analysis showed that the number of publications increased in the past 19 years, and the most productive author in this field was Brian J. Cole. The most productive country and the most productive institution were the US and the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, respectively. The journals with the highest output and the highest citation frequency were the Journal of Orthopaedic Research and the American Journal of Sports Medicine, respectively. From the keyword analysis, we observed that the primary research hotspots were the study of the PRP composition, growth factors, and the combination of PRP and mesenchymal stem cells. The frontiers of PRP were in vivo experiments, the treatment of rotator cuff and cartilage injury, and the comparison of clinical efficacy between PRP and hyaluronic acid.

Conclusion: The efficacy of PRP in treating orthopaedic diseases remains controversial. There are still some problems with the experimental methods, such as insufficient sample size, low level of evidence, confusion of system naming, lack of standardisation of preparation methods and application programs, and lack of in-depth basic scientific research. The research status shown by co-occurrence and cluster maps and the analysis of hotspots and frontiers may help solve present problems and explore new directions.

Keywords: Bibliometric analysis; CiteSpace; Orthopaedics; Platelet-rich plasma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases*
  • Orthopedic Procedures*
  • Orthopedics*
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • United States