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No effects of PRP on ultrasonographic tendon structure and neovascularisation in chronic midportion tendinopathy


de Vos RJ, Weir A, Tol JL, Verhaar JA, Weinans H, van Schie HT


Br J Sports Med 2011 ; 45(5): 387-392.

Publishing details

PMID: 21047840

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Objective To assess whether a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection leads to an enhanced tendon structure and neovascularisation, measured with ultrasonographic techniques, in chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy.

Design Double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Setting Sports medical department of The Hague medical centre.

Patients 54 patients with chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy were included.

Interventions Patients were randomised to eccentric exercise therapy with either a PRP injection (PRP group) or a saline injection (placebo group).

Main outcome measurements Tendon structure was evaluated by ultrasonographic tissue characterisation, a novel technique which quantifies tendon structure into four echo-types: echo-types I+II represent organised tendon bundles, whereas echo-types III+IV represent a disorganised tendon structure. Colour Doppler ultrasonography was used to measure the degree of neovascularisation. Follow-up was at 6, 12 and 24 weeks.

Results A significant improvement in echo-types I+II was found after 24 weeks within both the PRP group (n=27) and the placebo group (n=27), but there was no significant between-group difference (95% CI −1.6 to 7.8, p=0.169). After 6 weeks, the neovascularisation score increased within the PRP group (p=0.001) and the placebo group (p=0.002), but there was no significant between-group difference in change in neovascularisation score at any point in time.

Conclusion Injecting PRP for the treatment of chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy does not contribute to an increased tendon structure or alter the degree of neovascularisation, compared with placebo.

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