Editorial Commentary: Platelet-Rich Plasma Shows Promise for Improving Shoulder Tendinopathy

Arthroscopy. 2021 Sep;37(9):2754-2755. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2021.05.045.


Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections continue to be used at increasing rates to treat common musculoskeletal conditions. PRP has a low-risk profile and emerging in vitro evidence to support its positive effects on soft-tissue healing. PRP has been shown to be of benefit for knee osteoarthritis, but less has been published regarding the shoulder. PRP delivers a high concentration of growth factors, cytokines, and other important inflammatory modulators. Its use is appealing for treating partial-thickness rotator cuff tears, subacromial bursitis, and rotator cuff tendinopathy since rotator cuff tendons often have poor healing capacity due to intrinsic degeneration. PRP has been shown to increase cell proliferation and matrix synthesis in tenocytes, which may aid tendon regeneration and healing. Adult tendons also contain a small amount of tendon progenitor cells, which can be induced to an active state by PRP. In addition, PRP is an autologous biologic agent and easy to acquire and administer in an outpatient clinical setting. Clinical studies continue to lag and are often heterogenous in quality and in results. PRP can vary widely based on multiple intrinsic and extrinsic factors, including patient age, sex, activity level, centrifugation speed, and number of centrifugation cycles. Thus, quality research methods should include reporting using the PAW (platelets/activation/white blood cells) system. Clinicians should remain cautiously optimistic about the future role of PRP injections in the shoulder.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Rotator Cuff
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries* / therapy
  • Shoulder
  • Tendinopathy* / therapy