PURPOSE The purpose of this study is to conduct a systematic review of meta-analyses of rotator cuff repair using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to identify whether PRP improves clinical function and rate of tendon retears. We will (1) conduct a systematic review of the current meta-analyses of rotator cuff repair using platelet-rich plasma available in the literature, (2) evaluate the quality
of these meta-analyses using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review (PRISMA) methodology, (3) identify whether PRP improves clinical function and rate of tendon retears, and develop guidance to improve future studies in this area. METHODS We carried out a systematic review of previous meta-analyses published on the clinical outcomes of PRP used in the treatment of rotator cuff tears. We performed a comprehensive search of PubMed, Medline, Cochrane, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), and Embase databases, using various combinations of the commercial names of each PRP preparation and "rotator cuff" (with its associated terms), looking specifically at human meta-analysis studies involving the repair of the rotator cuff tendon surgically in the English language. Data validity was assessed and collected on clinical outcomes. Following this, a meta-analysis was undertaken. RESULTS Thirteen meta-analyses met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. All were considered of similar quality with Oxman-Guyatt index of 9 and PRISMA score of more than 24. A total of 1,800 patients with an average follow up of 12 to 36 months. The use of PRP for arthroscopic rotator cuff tear, when compared with controls, leads to a lower number of retears, improved short-term postoperative scores, and functional outcome. The following postoperative scores were reported: Constant: 12, Simple Shoulder Test: 10, ASES (American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons): 9, UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) 11, SANE (Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation) 1, VAS (visual analog scale): 6, and Retears: 13. Subgroup analysis showed that leukocyte content and gel application make no difference in the effectiveness of PRP. VAS score subgroup analysis showed short-term pain relief. CONCLUSIONS Our study shows that PRP is effective in reducing retears after rotator cuff repair and improving functional outcome scores and reducing short-term pain. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Level III, systematic review of Level I-III studies.