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Use of Platelet-Rich Plasma in Sports Medicine Increasing

However, study finds that little clinical evidence exists to show it enhances healing

MONDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is being increasingly used in sports medicine, even though minimal clinical evidence exists that it can enhance healing, according to a review in the October issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Michael P. Hall, M.D., and colleagues from New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York City reviewed the use of autologous PRP in sports medicine. They note that in vitro studies have shown that platelets secrete growth factors and recruit reparative cells that may be able to enhance the healing of soft tissue.

However, the researchers point out that, although minimal clinical evidence currently exists to support the use of PRP in sports medicine, PRP is being increasingly used due to its safety and the availability of marketed devices for outpatient preparation and delivery. PRP has been used non-surgically to treat conditions such as lateral epicondylitis, muscle injury and knee osteoarthritis, and surgically to augment rotator cuff and Achilles tendon repair.

"As the marketing of PRP increases, orthopedic surgeons must be informed regarding the available preparation devices and their differences," Hall and colleagues conclude. "Many controlled clinical trials are under way, but clinical use should be approached cautiously until high-level clinical evidence supporting PRP efficacy is available."

Several authors reported financial or consulting relationships with pharmaceutical or device companies.

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