Complications Following Biologic Therapeutic Injections: A Multicenter Case Series

Claire D. Eliasberg, Daniel A. Nemirov, Bert R. Mandelbaum, Andrew D. Pearle, John M. Tokish, Michael R. Baria, Peter J. Millett, Shane A. Shapiro, Scott A. Rodeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To describe the complications that occur following biologic therapeutic injections. Methods: We queried physician members of the Biologic Association, a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to providing a unified voice for all matters related to musculoskeletal biologics and regenerative medicine. Patients included in this study must have (1) received a biologic injection, (2) sustained an adverse reaction, and (3) had a minimum of 1-year follow-up after the injection. Patient demographic information, medical comorbidities, diagnoses, and previous treatments were recorded. The type of injection, injection setting, injection manufacturers, and specific details about the complication and outcome were collected. Results: In total, 14 patients were identified across 6 institutions in the United States (mean age 63 years, range: 36-83 years). The most common injections in this series were intra-articular knee injections (50%), followed intra-articular shoulder injections (21.4%). The most common underlying diagnosis was osteoarthritis (78.5%). Types of injections included umbilical cord blood, platelet-rich plasma, bone marrow aspirate concentrate, placental tissue, and unspecified “stem cell” injections. Complications included infection (50%), suspected sterile inflammatory response (42.9%), and a combination of both (7.1%). The most common pathogen identified from infection cases was Escherichia coli (n = 4). All patients who had isolated infections underwent treatment with at least one subsequent surgical intervention (mean: 3.6, range: 1-12) and intravenous antibiotic therapy. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that serious complications can occur following treatment with biologic injections, including infections requiring multiple surgical procedures and inflammatory reactions. Level of Evidence: Level IV, case series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2600-2605
Number of pages6
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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