Subacromial Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections Decrease Pain and Improve Functional Outcomes in Patients With Refractory Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy


      The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of subacromial platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections in patients with refractory rotator cuff tendinopathies based on pain improvement, functional outcomes, sleep disturbances, and return to sports to the same level as before the injury.


      Between March 2019 and October 2019, 50 patients with rotator cuff tendinopathy refractory to conservative treatment were treated with one subacromial PRP injection in our institution. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed in all patients to confirm diagnosis. The visual analog scale (VAS) was used to evaluate pain. Range of motion, the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) score, and the Constant score were used to assess functional outcomes. Eighty percent of the patients (40 of 50 patients) and 86% of the patients (43 of 50 patients) achieved a clinically significant improvement that exceeded the substantial clinical benefit for the ASES and Constant scores, respectively. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used to assess sleep disorders. Return to sports was also evaluated. The mean follow-up was 12 months, and the mean (SD) age was 37.3 (9.3) years.


      All mobility parameters evaluated improved significantly after treatment. The VAS, ASES, and Constant scores showed statistical improvement after the injection (P < .001). Sleep disturbances were resolved in 86% of the patients. Of the 32 patients who practiced sports before the injury, 84% returned to sports and 78% returned to the same level. There were no complications associated with the procedure.


      In most patients with refractory rotator cuff tendinopathy, subacromial injections of leukocyte-rich PRP significantly decreased pain, improved functional outcomes, and resolved sleep disturbances. Moreover, most of the athletes returned to sports at the same level they had before the injury.

      Level of Evidence

      Level II, prospective cohort study.
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