Health Problem: Forearm pain that arises from overuse of the wrist extensor muscles may be due to tendon damage at the lateral epicondyle, a condition known as lateral epicondylitis (LE) or tennis elbow. LE is a common condition that affects 1% to 3% of adults each year.

Technology Description: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is blood plasma with a higher-than-usual concentration of platelets. The injection of autologous PRP is proposed to improve local healing, thereby treating conditions, including LE.

Controversy: PRP preparations are not standardized and exhibit wide variability in platelet and white blood cell concentrations and the use of thrombin activators. How these variations in PRP composition may impact clinical outcomes is unclear.

Key Questions:

  • Does platelet-rich plasma (PRP) effectively reduce symptoms of lateral epicondylitis (LE)?
  • How does PRP compare with corticosteroid (CS) therapies for treatment of LE?
  • How does PRP compare with whole blood (WB) therapies for treatment of LE?
  • Is PRP safe?
  • Have definitive patient selection criteria been established for the use of PRP?

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