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Papers of the Week

2022 Feb




Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection Associated With Microtenotomy in Lateral Epicondylitis – is a Tendon Tear Associated with the Therapeutic Response?


Martins J, Neto IS, Gonçalves AF, Pereira A, Santiago M, Ferro I, Lopes T, Carvalho J L
Cureus. 2022 Feb; 14(2):e22425.
PMID: 35371831.


Objective Ultrasound-guided platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, as well as needle tenotomy, are becoming increasingly popular in the treatment of epicondylitis. Whether ultrasound (US) findings predict the clinical benefit of these techniques is unclear at the moment. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between the presence of tendon tear assessed by US and the therapeutic response of the PRP injection following needle microtenotomy in patients with epicondylitis. Methodology This is a retrospective observational study. Twenty-six patients with chronic (>three months) lateral epicondylitis recalcitrant to conservative treatment or corticosteroid injection. Patients underwent US-guided microtenotomy followed by PRP injection. Data regarding gender, age, US findings at baseline, and numeric pain rating scale (NPRS) scores before and after intervention were collected. Pain improvement rates were calculated at several follow-up time points, namely one, three, six, and 12 months post-intervention. Results are stated as mean ± standard deviation. Results At the time of intervention, the mean age was 47.6±6.5 years, and 57.7% of patients were men. Overall, the mean initial NPRS score was 7.5±1.2, and there were no statistically significant differences in mean initial NPRS scores between the groups with or without tendon tear on the US imaging. The mean improvement rate at one, three, and six months was similar between patients with and without tendon tear. However, a statistically significant difference was observed at 12 months (73.1±37.6% vs. 16.0±21.9, p=0.029).  Conclusions Patients with tendon tear demonstrated a higher pain improvement rate at 12 months follow-up. This finding could predict the clinical response to this technique, thus allowing a better selection of the candidates.