BACKGROUND Autologous platelet-rich plasma (aPRP) is widely used with orthopedic patients to help treat injuries to tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and muscle. A comprehensive review of the literature was conducted to evaluate aPRP's efficacy and compare available methods. In addition, the production and administration of aPRP were explored. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS A literature search was performed. Randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) in orthopedic procedures on adult patients were included and assessed for methodologic quality. The main outcomes were pain relief, increase in function, structural integrity, and "healing" based on various validated scales. RESULTS Twelve RCTs and one controlled cohort were included (four lateral epicondylitis, two chronic Achilles tendinopathy, two anterior cruciate ligament injury, and five rotator cuff injuries). Four trials reported some benefit from aPRP versus controls while eight trials found no benefit from aPRP applications versus control. One study had too many patients withdraw from the control arm for acceptable data interpretation. All protocols used a different aPRP formulation or method of delivery or application. CONCLUSIONS Despite its popularity, there are no standardized criteria that define aPRP. Different techniques yield wide variability in terms of platelet count and concentration. These variations make it difficult to compare clinical trials that use aPRP or draw conclusions concerning its clinical efficacy in orthopedic procedures. Blood bankers have experience in the production of standardized blood components. This expertise may be used to develop and implement protocols for the production and administration of aPRP, as well as quality control measures.
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