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Sports Health. 2010 May;2(3):203-10.

Platelet-rich plasma: where are we now and where are we going?

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Rush University, Chicago, Illinois.



Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) may affect soft tissue healing via growth factors released after platelet degranulation. Because of this potential benefit, clinicians have begun to inject PRP for the treatment of tendon, ligament, muscle, and cartilage injuries and early osteoarthritis.


A PubMed search was performed for studies relating to PRP, growth factors, and soft tissue injuries from 1990 to 2010. Relevant references from these studies were also retrieved.


Soft tissue injury is a major source of disability that may often be complicated by prolonged and incomplete recovery. Numerous growth factors may potentiate the healing and regeneration of tendons and ligaments. The potential benefits of biologically enhanced healing processes have led to a recent interest in the use of PRP in orthopaedic sports medicine. There has been widespread anecdotal use of PRP for muscle strains, tendinopathy, and ligament injuries and as a surgical adjuvant to rotator cuff repair, anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, and meniscal or labral repairs. Although the fascination with this emerging technology has led to a dramatic increase in its use, scientific data supporting this use are still in their infancy.


The literature is replete with studies on the basic science of growth factors and their relation to the maintenance, proliferation, and regeneration of various tissues and tissue-derived cells. Despite the promising results of several animal studies, well-controlled human studies are lacking.


early osteoarthritis; ligament injuries; muscle strain injuries; platelet-rich plasma; tendinopathy

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