PURPOSE To determine if platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection for lateral epicondylitis (LE) offers patients comparable outcomes to lateral epicondylar surgery. METHODS Embase, Cochrane Library, and Medline databases were searched using the terms lateral epicondylitis, lateral elbow pain, tennis elbow, lateral epicondylalgia, and elbow tendinopathy individually and combined with the terms platelet-rich plasma injections and lateral epicondylar surgery. We compared pain
relief, function between the two treatment options, and identified if PRP injection reduced the incidence of lateral epicondylar surgery. Studies must have compared (PRP) injections to lateral epicondylar surgery for the treatment of LE, be of level I, II, or III evidence, and written in the English language. RESULTS Three studies (one level II and two level II) met inclusion criteria. Two of the studies suggested that PRP injections offer similar relief as surgery in the short and mid-term, one study reported that PRP injections and surgery had similar outcomes in pain improvement and return to work, while one study reported that surgery may be a better long term solution. CONCLUSIONS In comparison to lateral epicondylar surgery, PRP injections offer similar improvements in pain and function for patients suffering from lateral epicondylitis, especially in the short and mid-term in two of the three included investigations. Therefore, PRP injections are an appropriate alternative for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis.