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General Orthopaedics


Current Concepts in Joint Replacement (CCJR) – Spring 2015


The incorporation of platelet rich plasma (PRP) in the treatment of various musculoskeletal conditions has increased exponentially over the past decade. While described most often as an augment or treatment for tendinopathies and acute tendon injuries, more recently, PRP has been described as an adjunct to arthroplasty procedures, mostly with respect to knee arthroplasty. In the shoulder, only a single study has been published, in which Zavadil and colleagues performed a randomised study of 40 patients undergoing total shoulder arthroplasty undergoing either treatment with autologous platelet gel and platelet poor plasma (n=20) or undergoing no biologic treatment (control group, n=20). The authors noted that the treatment group had significantly lower pain scores, less pain medication requirements, and improved internal rotation when compared to controls; in addition, there were no significant differences in post-operative (compared to pre-operative) hemoglobin levels or length of stay. The vast majority of arthroplasty studies discussing PRP analyze the impact of treatment on wound healing, post-operative pain, post-operative range of motion, and need for post-operative blood transfusions. Unfortunately, due to the substantial variability of methodology (not all PRP preparations are the same) in the available studies as well as the variability in outcomes reporting, direct comparison between different studies is not feasible. Here, we discuss the basic science elements of PRP relevant to arthroplasty, the variability of PRP solutions, the specific applications of PRP in arthroplasty, and the latest clinical outcomes analyses of patients undergoing PRP therapy in conjunction with shoulder arthroplasty.