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No effects of PRP on ultrasonographic tendon structure and neovascularisation in chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy
  1. R J de Vos1,
  2. A Weir2,
  3. J L Tol2,
  4. J A N Verhaar1,
  5. H Weinans1,
  6. H T M van Schie1
  1. 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2The Hague Medical Centre Antoniushove, Leidschendam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to R J de Vos, The Hague Medical Centre Antoniushove, PO Box 411, Burgemeester Banninglaan 1, 2260 AK Leidschendam, The Netherlands; r.devos{at}


Objective To assess whether a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection leads to an enhanced tendon structure and neovascularisation, measured with ultrasonographic techniques, in chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy.

Design Double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

Setting Sports medical department of The Hague medical centre.

Patients 54 patients with chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy were included.

Interventions Patients were randomised to eccentric exercise therapy with either a PRP injection (PRP group) or a saline injection (placebo group).

Main outcome measurements Tendon structure was evaluated by ultrasonographic tissue characterisation, a novel technique which quantifies tendon structure into four echo-types: echo-types I+II represent organised tendon bundles, whereas echo-types III+IV represent a disorganised tendon structure. Colour Doppler ultrasonography was used to measure the degree of neovascularisation. Follow-up was at 6, 12 and 24 weeks.

Results A significant improvement in echo-types I+II was found after 24 weeks within both the PRP group (n=27) and the placebo group (n=27), but there was no significant between-group difference (95% CI −1.6 to 7.8, p=0.169). After 6 weeks, the neovascularisation score increased within the PRP group (p=0.001) and the placebo group (p=0.002), but there was no significant between-group difference in change in neovascularisation score at any point in time.

Conclusion Injecting PRP for the treatment of chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy does not contribute to an increased tendon structure or alter the degree of neovascularisation, compared with placebo.

Funding Biomet Biologics LLC, Warsaw, Indiana.

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  • Funding Biomet Biologics LLC, Warsaw, Indiana.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the regional Medical Ethics Committee ZuidWest Holland.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.