PainSci summary of Grassi 2018?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★★☆4-star ratings are for bigger/better studies and reviews published in more prestigious journals, with only quibbles. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
A negative review of six trials of platelet-rich plasma injections for muscle strain, concluding that some hopeful early evidence is (predictably) “not confirmed by the recent high-level RCTs.” Although the quality of four of the trials reviewed was poor and they had positive results, two of them were better quality and had negative results.
The results of trials of PRP for other conditions is also generally disappointing, so this review’s conclusion is no surprise.
original abstract†Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
BACKGROUND: Muscle lesions account for one-third of sport-related injuries, thus representing a substantial problem for both players and their teams. The use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections is rapidly growing in clinical practice, prompted by an unmet clinical need with a large commercial market. However, after early reports of positive preliminary experience, higher quality studies recently questioned the real benefit provided by PRP injections to promote muscle healing and return to sport.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections on outcomes following acute muscle injuries.
DESIGN: Meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials (RCTs), Level I.
DATA SOURCES: PubMed (MEDLINE), Cochrane (CENTRAL), Web of Science, clinicaltrials.gov, who.int, isrctn.com, greylit.org, opengrey.eu.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: RCTs investigating the effect of PRP for the treatment of acute muscle injuries against at least one control group including patients treated with placebo injection or physical therapy. The outcomes evaluated were time to return to sport, re-injuries, complications, pain, muscle strength, range of motion (ROM)/flexibility, muscle function, and imaging.
RESULTS: Six studies, involving 374 patients, were included in the meta-analysis. The time to return to sport evaluated in all six studies was significantly shorter in patients treated with PRP (mean difference = - 7.17 days). However, if only the double-blind studies (n = 2) or studies including only hamstring injuries (n = 3) were considered, non-significant differences were found. Re-injuries (relative risk = - 0.03) and complications (relative risk = 0.01) were also similar between the two groups (p > 0.05), nor were any substantial differences found regarding pain, muscle strength, ROM/flexibility, muscle function, and imaging. The performance bias was high risk due to the lack of patient blinding in four studies. The quality of evidence according to the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) was therefore low or very low.
CONCLUSIONS: The promising biological rationale, the positive preclinical findings, and the successful early clinical experience of PRP injections are not confirmed by the recent high-level RCTs. Therefore any benefit in terms of pain, function, return to sport, and recurrence using PRP injections for the treatment of acute muscle injuries is not supported. Due to the bias in the studies, the heterogeneity of the findings, and the limited sample size, the evidence should be considered to be of low or very low quality.
- “Strong evidence against platelet-rich plasma injections for chronic lateral epicondylar tendinopathy: a systematic review,” Robert-Jan de Vos, Johann Windt, and Adam Weir, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2014.
- “Impact of autologous blood injections in treatment of mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy: double blind randomised controlled trial,” Kevin J Bell, Mark L Fulcher, David S Rowlands, and Ngaire Kerse, British Medical Journal, 2013.
- “Platelet-rich therapies for musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries,” Vinícius Y Moraes, Mário Lenza, Marcel Jun Tamaoki, Flávio Faloppa, and João Carlos Belloti, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2014.
- “Autologous growth factor injections in chronic tendinopathy,” Michelle A Sandrey, Journal of Athletic Training, 2014.
- “Popular Blood Therapy May Not Work,” Gina Kolata, New York Times.
These two articles on PainScience.com cite Grassi 2018 as a source:
- PS Save Yourself from Muscle Strain! — Muscle strain (pulled muscle) and muscle pain explained and discussed in great detail, plus every imaginable treatment option
- PS Does Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection Work? — An interesting treatment idea for arthritis, tendinopathy, muscle strain and more
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
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- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting. Konstantinou 2012 Eur Spine J.
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- Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Paige 2017 JAMA.