The Addition of Platelet-Rich Plasma to Scaffolds Used for Cartilage Repair: A Review of Human and Animal Studies
Purpose. To review the available literature on studies focusing on platelet-rich plasma (PRP)-enhanced scaffolds for cartilage lesion repair in animals and to analyze the clinical outcomes of similar biologically augmented cartilage regeneration techniques in humans.
Methods. We conducted a literature search and subsequent review investigating the potential of PRP to enhance articular cartilage repair using scaffolds or bioengineered implants.
Results. Of the 14 animal model studies reviewed, 10 reported positive effects with PRP whereas only 2 showed negative overall effects. The remaining 2 studies reported no significant differences, or neutral results, with the use of PRP. With the addition of PRP, the gross appearance and histologic analysis of repair cartilage were improved or no difference was seen compared with control (11 of 12 studies that looked at this). Human studies of the knee or talar dome showed improvements in clinical assessment scores as soon as 6 months after surgery. There was great variability in the method of PRP preparation, choice of scaffold, and cell source between studies.
Conclusions. PRP-augmented scaffolds have been shown to be beneficial in the articular cartilage repair process in animals and humans based on macroscopic, histologic, and biochemical analysis and based on clinical outcome scores, respectively. Comparison between studies is difficult because there is great variability in PRP preparation and administration.
Level of Evidence. Level IV, systematic review of Level III and IV studies.