Selasa, 09 Februari 2010

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Revisited

About a year ago in this blog I described PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy as an exciting and potentially effective new treatment for injuries to tendons and ligaments. Apparently athletes and other patients were asking for the treatment, even though insurance companies were reluctant to pay for it. I asked, “Does it work?” and mentioned that several clinical trials were currently underway to find out.

The results of several of the clinical trials are now in, and the results are not encouraging. In one study of patients with Achilles tendon injuries, PRP therapy was no more effective than an injection of saline (the control). In another study of tennis elbow, PRP therapy appeared to be slightly more effective than injections of steroids (the standard treatment these days). However, some scientists have criticized the tennis elbow study for not having a control group. Steroid injections are known to reduce pain in the short-term but to slow healing in the long-term. So the jury is still out on whether PRP therapy for tennis elbow is actually better than no treatment at all.

No doubt, studies with other tendon/ligament injuries using different study protocols will be done in the future. In the meantime, enthusiasm for PRP therapy has cooled just a little.

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