Sports Medicine Applications of Platelet Rich Plasma
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a powerful new biologic tool in sports medicine. PRP is a fraction of autologous
whole blood containing and increased number of platelets and a wide variety of cytokines such as platelet derived growth
factor (PDGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF-B1), fibroblast
growth factor (FGF), Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) among many others. Worldwide interest in this biologic technology
has recently risen sharply. Basic science and preclinical data support the use of PRP for a variety of sports related
injuries and disorders. The published, peer reviewed, human data on PRP is limited. Although the scientific evaluation of
clinical efficacy is in the early stages, elite and recreational athletes already use PRP in the treatment of sports related injuries.
Many questions remain to be answered regarding the use of PRP including optimal formulation, including of leukocytes,
dosage and rehabilitation protocols. In this review, a classification for platelet rich plasma is proposed and the invitro,
preclinical and human investigations of PRP applications in sports medicine will be reviewed as well as a discussion
of rehabilitation after a PRP procedure. The regulation of PRP by the World Anti-Doping Agency will also be discussed.
PRP is a promising technology in sports medicine; however, it will require more vigorous study in order to better understand
how to apply it most effectively.
Keywords: Platelet rich plasma, classification, sports medicine, tendinopathy, PRP, tennis elbow.
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