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Objective: This study aimed to identify the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for patients operated with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR).

Databases of PubMed, Embase, and CENTRAL were independently retrieved by two authors, for identifying the eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the clinical and imaging outcomes of ACL reconstructed patients augmented with or without PRP. The Cochrane Collaboration tool was utilized to assess the risk of bias of the included trials. We qualitatively synthesized the outcomes include the image evaluations on the healing of bone tunnels, graft remodeling, donor site healing and tunnel widening, and clinical evaluations on knee stability and function, pain symptom by visual analogue scale (VAS), inflammatory parameters and so on.

A total of 16 RCTs, including 1025 patients, were included for eligibility. Generally, the included studies were of low risk of bias, but the conducting of allocation concealment was not clearly described in many studies. Three imaging techniques, including MRI, CT and ultrasound, were selected in these trials. Significant improvement on graft remodeling, bone tunnel healing, harvest site healing and bone tunnel diameters were demonstrated in one of five (20.0%), three of five (60.0%), two of four (50.0%) and one of five (20.0%) studies respectively, for PRP group. Various clinical outcomes, such as IKDC score, Lysholm score, Tegner score, knee anteroposterior and rotational laxity, range of motion and VAS, could not be improved with PRP application.

The PRP is associated with very limited role in improving knee outcomes following ACLR, and there is no indication for PRP procedures in ACLR at this stage.

The graphical abstract including the main content of this review (left column), flowchart of study searching and selecting (top-right grid), assessment of risk of bias (middle-right grid), and barchart showing trials with significant /non-significant findings (bottom-right grid).

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