With any new treatment, one question that is always asked is whether a treatment actually works or if a placebo effect is significantly involved. Most of the studies for PRP look favorable, and the overall trend in the literature is positive in regards to platelet rich plasma having the ability to improve chronic joint and tendon injuries.
A recent article comparing ultrasound guided PRP treatments with dry needling is another interesting proof of concept. Treating a group of patients with partial rotator cuff tears, patients either received PRP injections or dry needling, which is strictly inserting a needle into the damaged tendon. In this study the PRP group responded better than dry needling alone. This is interesting because dry needling is not a placebo treatment. Inserting a needle into a tendon will create some blood flow into the injured area which is helpful on its own in treatment of a tendon tear. With PRP treatment a needle is inserted into the tendon resulting in blood flow locally, and the additional PRP injection inserts a higher concentration of platelets. This study shows that the additional injection of PRP via specific ultrasound guidance added to the dry needling affect. The key here is specific targeting via imaging guidance in addition to the PRP.