Comparison of the therapeutic effects of ultrasound-guided platelet-rich plasma injection and dry needling in rotator cuff disease: a randomized controlled trial


Objective: To compare the effects of platelet-rich plasma injection with those of dry needling on shoulder pain and function in patients with rotator cuff disease.

Design: A single-center, prospective, randomized, double-blinded, controlled study.

Setting: University rehabilitation hospital.

Participants: Thirty-nine patients with a supraspinatus tendon lesion (tendinosis or a partial tear less than 1.0 cm but not a complete tear) who met the inclusion criteria were recruited between June 2010 and February 2011.

Intervention: Two dry needling procedures in the control group and two platelet-rich plasma injections in the experimental group were applied to the affected shoulder at four-week intervals using ultrasound guidance.

Measurements: The Shoulder Pain and Disability Index, passive range of motion of the shoulder, a physician global rating scale at the six-month follow-up, adverse effects monitoring, and an ultrasound measurement were used as outcome measures.

Results: The clinical effect of the platelet-rich plasma injection was superior to dry needling from six weeks to six months after the initial injection (P  0.05). At six months, the mean shoulder pain and disability index was 17.7  3.7 in the platelet-rich plasma group versus 29.5  3.8 in the dry needling group (P  0.05). No severe adverse effects were observed in either group.

Conclusions: Autologous platelet-rich plasma injections lead to a progressive reduction in pain and disability when compared to dry needling. This benefit is certainly still present six months after treatment. These findings suggest that treatment with platelet-rich plasma injections is safe and useful for rotator cuff disease.

Keywords: Rotator cuff, platelet-rich plasma, injection, controlled trial.

Dong-wook Rha’, Gi-Young Park?, Yong-Kyun Kim?, Min Tae Kim’ and Sang Chul Lee


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