Does Platelet-Rich Plasma Lead to Earlier Return to Sport When Compared With Conservative Treatment in Acute Muscle Injuries? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Ujash Sheth, Tim Dwyer, Ira Smith, David Wasserstein, John Theodoropoulos, Sachdeep Takhar, Jaskarndip Chahal
Arthroscopy: the Journal of Arthroscopic & related Surgery 2018, 34 (1): 281-288.e1

PURPOSE: To compare the time to return to sport and reinjury rate after platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection versus control therapy (i.e., physiotherapy or placebo injection) in patients with acute grade I or II muscle strains.

METHODS: All eligible studies comparing PRP against a control in the treatment of acute (≤7 days) grade I or II muscle strains were identified. The primary outcome was time to return to play. The secondary outcome was the rate of reinjury at a minimum of 6 months of follow-up. Subgroup analysis was performed to examine the efficacy of PRP in hamstring muscle strains alone. The checklist to evaluate a report of a nonpharmacologic trial (CLEAR-NPT) was used to assess the quality of studies.

RESULTS: Five randomized controlled trials including a total of 268 patients with grade I and II acute muscle injuries were eligible for review. The pooled results revealed a significantly earlier return to sport for the PRP group when compared with the control group (mean difference, -5.57 days [95% confidence interval, -9.57 to -1.58]; P = .006). Subgroup analysis showed no difference in time to return to sport when comparing PRP and control therapy in grade I and II hamstring muscle strains alone (P = .19). No significant difference was noted in the rate of reinjury between the 2 groups (P = .50) at a minimum of 6 months of follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Evidence from the current literature, although limited, suggests that the use of PRP may result in an earlier return to sport among patients with acute grade I or II muscle strains without significantly increasing the risk of reinjury at 6 months of follow-up. However, no difference in time to return to sport was revealed when specifically evaluating those with a grade I or II hamstring muscle strain.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level II, meta-analysis of level I and II studies.

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