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To Improve Pain and Function, Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections May Be an Alternative to Surgery for Treating Lateral Epicondylitis: A Systematic Review

      Purpose

      To determine whether platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection for lateral epicondylitis offers patients comparable outcomes to lateral epicondylar surgery.

      Methods

      Embase, Cochrane Library, and MEDLINE databases were searched using the terms lateral epicondylitis, lateral elbow pain, tennis elbow, lateral epicondylalgia, and elbow tendinopathy individually and combined with the terms platelet-rich plasma injections and lateral epicondylar surgery. We compared pain relief, function between the 2 treatment options, and identified whether PRP injection reduced the incidence of lateral epicondylar surgery. Studies must have compared PRP injections with lateral epicondylar surgery for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis; be of Level I, II, or III evidence; and be written in the English language.

      Results

      Three studies (1 Level II and 2 Level III) met inclusion criteria. Two of the studies suggested that PRP injections offer similar relief as surgery in the short and mid-term, one study reported that PRP injections and surgery had similar outcomes in pain improvement and return to work, whereas 1 study reported that surgery may be a better long-term solution.

      Conclusions

      In comparison with lateral epicondylar surgery, PRP injections offer similar improvements in pain and function for patients suffering from lateral epicondylitis, especially in the short- and mid-term in 2 of the 3 included investigations. Therefore, PRP injections are an appropriate alternative for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis.

      Level of Evidence

      Level III, Systematic Review of Level III or greater evidence.
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