Author(s): Creaney L, Wallace A, Curtis M, Connell D
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Growth factor technologies are increasingly used to enhance healing in musculoskeletal injuries, particularly in sports medicine. Two such products; platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and autologous blood, have a growing body of supporting evidence. No previous trial has directly compared the efficacy of these two methods. HYPOTHESIS: Growth factor administration improves tissue regeneration in patients who have failed to respond to conservative therapy. STUDY DESIGN: A prospective, double-blind, randomised trial. METHODS: Elbow tendinopathy patients who had failed conservative physical therapy were divided into two patient groups: PRP injection (N=80) and autologous blood injection (ABI) (N=70). Each patient received two injections at 0 and 1 month. Patient-related tennis elbow evaluation (PRTEE) was recorded by a blinded investigator at 0, 1, 3 and 6 months. The main outcome measure was PRTEE, a validated composite outcome for pain, activities of daily living and physical function, utilising a 0-100 scale. RESULTS: At 6 months the authors observed a 66\% success rate in the PRP group versus 72\% in the ABI group, p=NS. There was a higher rate of conversion to surgery in the ABI group (20\%) versus the PRP group (10\%). CONCLUSION: In patients who are resistant to first-line physical therapy such as eccentric loading, ABI or PRP injections are useful second-line therapies to improve clinical outcomes. In this study, up to seven out of 10 additional patients in this difficult to treat cohort benefit from a surgery-sparing intervention.
This article was published in Br J Sports Med
and referenced in Orthopedic & Muscular System: Current Research