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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2011 Jun;20(4):518-28. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2011.02.008.

Platelet rich plasma in arthroscopic rotator cuff repair: a prospective RCT study, 2-year follow-up.

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  • 1Department of Scienze Medico Chirurgiche, University of Milano, IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, Milano, Italy.



Local application of autologous platelet rich plasma (PRP) improves tendon healing in patients undergoing arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.


Prospective, randomized, controlled, double blind study; considering an alpha level of 5%, a power of 80%, 22 patients for group are needed.


Fifty-three patients who underwent shoulder arthroscopy for the repair of a complete rotator cuff tear were randomly divided into 2 groups, using a block randomization procedure. A treatment group (N = 26) consisted of those who received an intraoperative application of PRP in combination with an autologous thrombin component. A control group (N = 27) consisted of those who did not receive that treatment. Patients were evaluated with validated outcome scores. A magnetic resonance image (MRI) was performed in all cases at more than 1 year post-op. All patients had the same accelerated rehabilitation protocol.


The 2 groups were homogeneous. The pain score in the treatment group was lower than the control group at 3, 7, 14, and 30 days after surgery (P < .05). On the Simple Shoulder Test (SST), University of California (UCLA), and Constant scores, strength in external rotation, as measured by a dynamometer, were significantly higher in the treatment group than the control group at 3 months after surgery (strength in external rotation [SER]: 3 ± 1.6 vs 2.1 ± 1.3 kg; SST: 8.9 ± 2.2 vs 7.1 ± 2.7; UCLA: 26.9 ± 3 vs 24.2 ± 4.9; Constant: 65 ± 9 vs 57.8 ± 11; P < .05). There was no difference between the 2 groups after 6, 12, and 24 months. The follow-up MRI showed no significant difference in the healing rate of the rotator cuff tear. In the subgroup of grade 1 and 2 tears, with less retraction, SER in the PRP group was significant higher at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperative (P < .05).


The results of our study showed autologous PRP reduced pain in the first postoperative months. The long-term results of subgroups of grade 1 and 2 tears suggest that PRP positively affected cuff rotator healing.

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