Study Finds Little Benefit in Applying Platelet-Rich Plasma with a Fibrin Matrix to Rotator Cuff Repairs

Expediting the healing of a rotator cuff following surgical repair is of great interest to
orthopaedic surgeons. At the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine’s Speciality Day, hosted in San Diego on February 19th, researchers presented recent findings stating that platelet-rich plasma with a fibrin matrix (PRFM) may be ineffective in expediting the healing of rotator cuffs following surgery.

“Our study on 79 patients who received platelet-rich plasma with a fibrin matrix (PRFM) demonstrated no real differences in healing in a tendon-to-bone rotator cuff repair. In fact, this preliminary analysis suggests that the PRFM, as used in this study, may have a negative effect on healing. However, this data should be viewed as preliminary, and further study is required” said study author, Scott Rodeo, MD of New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery.

79 patients were divided into a control group and PRFM group. All platients’ recovery routines included standard rehabilitation protocals. The tendon healing was evaluated at 6 and 12 week follow-ups using ultra-sound and shoulder strength measurements. Little difference was discovered among groups.

Potential reasons for the lack of healing response in PRFM group may be the way platelets were derived and concentrated, and mechanisms for the way PRFM reacts with tendon cells. Platelets are blood cells that help control bleeding and healing. Because platelets can be concentrated at various levels (thus, not all PRP is created equal), it is possible concentration levels were too low to have any enhanced healing effect.

“Additional research needs to be performed to figure out the mechanisms for why PRP is successful in healing certain areas of the body and not others. With more study we will continue to learn new procedures for improving orthopaedic surgery outcomes,” said Rodeo.

Press Release from AOSSM

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