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The morbidity and socioeconomic costs associated with long bone healing are considerable. Platelet-rich therapies are autologous blood products with a greater concentration of platelets than physiological whole blood. Despite promising results from a number of in-vitro animal studies, clinical evidence to support the use of platelet-rich therapy in long bone healing is unclear.To assess the effects (benefits or harms) of platelet-rich therapies for treating long bone osteotomies, acute fractures, un-united fractures and defects in adults.We searched the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group Specialised Register (8 November 2011), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library, 2011 Issue 4), MEDLINE (1948 to November Week 1 2011) and EMBASE (1980 to Week 44 2011). Trial registers and reference lists of articles were also searched.Randomised and quasi-randomised controlled clinical trials evaluating any type of platelet-rich therapy compared with either no additional treatment or a placebo in the management of long bone osteotomies, acute fractures, un-united fractures and defects in adults. Studies including participants over 18 years of age; reporting functional outcomes, time to union, non-union, secondary procedures such as for fixation failure or delayed or non-union, adverse effects, pain or costs were included.Two authors independently selected the studies for inclusion in the review. Studies were assessed for the risk of bias using The Cochrane Collaboration's 'Risk of bias' tool. Treatment effects for dichotomous outcomes were expressed with risk ratios (RR) and continuous measures with mean differences, together with 95% confidence intervals (CI).Only one eligible study, involving 21 participants, was included. The study compared platelet-rich therapy and allogenic bone graft with allogenic bone graft alone in patients undergoing corrective osteotomy for medial compartment osteoarthrosis of the knee. The risk of bias associated with this study was substantial. There was no significant difference in patient-reported or clinician-assessed functional outcome scores between groups at one year. There was a statistically significant benefit from platelet-rich therapy in the proportion of bones that were united at one year (8/9 versus 3/9; RR 2.67; 95% CI 1.03 to 6.91). This benefit, however, was not maintained when assuming poor outcomes for participants who were lost to follow-up (8/11 versus 3/10; RR 2.42; 95% CI 0.88 to 6.68). One adverse event was reported in a participant receiving platelet-rich therapy.One other eligible study involving hip fracture patients is currently underway.While a potential benefit of platelet-rich therapies to augment long bone healing in adults cannot be ruled out, the currently available evidence from a single trial is insufficient to support the routine use of this intervention in clinical practice. Future trials should focus on reporting patient-reported functional outcomes from all trial participants for a minimum follow-up of one year.

Original publication

DOI

10.1002/14651858.cd009496.pub2

Type

Journal article

Journal

The Cochrane database of systematic reviews

Publication Date

01/2012

Addresses

Warwick Orthopaedics,WarwickMedical School, University ofWarwick, Coventry UK. x.griffin@warwick.ac.uk

Keywords

Humans, Osteoarthritis, Knee, Bone Transplantation, Osteotomy, Transplantation, Homologous, Fracture Healing, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Italy, Platelet-Rich Plasma