What is the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) in the treatment of lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)?

Updated: Oct 30, 2018
  • Author: Bryant James Walrod, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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A study by Gosens et al compared corticosteroid with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections in patients who had refractory lateral epicondylitis symptoms for longer than 6 months. Primary outcome measures were pain and daily use of the elbow. One hundred patients blindly received either PRP or corticosteroid injection, followed by a similar standard rehabilitation protocol. Success was defined as a 25% reduction in pain on a visual analogue scale (VAS) score or on a disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand (DASH) score.

At 4 weeks, the corticosteroid injection group reported a 32.8% improvement in VAS scores and a 25.8% improvement in DASH scores. At 4 weeks, the PRP group had a 21% improvement in VAS scores and a 15.7% improvement in DASH scores. Both had similar improvements at 8 weeks. The PRP group had a greater and more sustained symptom improvement; the individuals were followed for longer period of time. At 12 weeks, the PRP group demonstrated a 44.8% improvement in VAS and a 43% improvement in DASH scores. At 12 weeks, the corticosteroid group reported improvements of 32.8% in VAS and 29.8% in DASH scores. These trends continued at 6 months, 12 months, 1 year, and 2 years. The PRP group continued to show improvement in VAS and DASH scores at 6 months, 12 months, and 2 years. The corticosteroid group had less successful symptom resolution the longer the individuals were followed. [16]

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