Giving platelet-rich plasma did not help patients recover from arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery in a South Korean study.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is being used in various orthopedic procedures these days without a lot of evidence to support it, the study's authors say.
Led by Dr. Chis Hyunchul Jo of Seoul National University College of Medicine, they recruited 42 patients with full-thickness rotator cuff tears and let them choose on their own whether or not to have PRP applied in gel form during arthroscopic surgery.
As reported online July 7th in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, 19 patients chose the PRP therapy and 23 chose conventional therapy.
There were no significant differences between the PRP and conventional groups after 19.7 months of follow-up in terms of pain, range of motion, strength, and overall satisfaction measures.
Several functional scores were higher at three months postoperatively in the conventional therapy group, but there were no differences at the final follow-up.
Structural integrity, as determined by postoperative MRIs and retear rates, were also not significantly different between the two groups.
In an email to Reuters Health, Dr. Jo said the study could have been underpowered, and it suffered from other limitations as well.
"There were more large to massive tears in the PRP group," he said, and while the difference was not statistically significant, larger tears could delay the beginning of rehabilitation and mask the effects of treatment.
The lack of randomization also limits the interpretation of the results, Dr. Jo said.
The researcher team is not ready to give up on PRP yet, however. The paper concludes: "We do not regard our results sufficient to reach a conclusion regarding the effect of PRP on rotator cuff repair, and we suggest the need for further research."
Am J Sports Med 2011. Abstract
Dave Levitan • Reuters Health Information © 2011