Single injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for the treatment of refractory distal biceps tendonitis: long-term results of a prospective multicenter cohort study

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2016 Jul;24(7):2308-12. doi: 10.1007/s00167-014-3465-8. Epub 2014 Dec 11.


Purpose: There is a lack of evidence regarding the use of PRP in the treatment of distal biceps tendonitis. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of ultrasound (US)-guided injection of PRP in relieving pain and functional impairment in the treatment of refractory distal biceps tendonitis.

Methods: Twelve patients from two large tertiary referral hospitals were recruited over a period of 20 months. Clinical diagnosis of distal biceps tendonitis was confirmed using magnetic resonance imaging. All patients had a single US-guided injection of PRP carried out by the two senior authors. Patients were objectively assessed for clinical and functional improvement using visual analogue (VAS) rest and activity pain scores, subjective satisfaction scale, elbow functional assessment (EFA) and isometric muscular (biceps) strength. Symptom severity and subsequent functional outcome were measured pre-injection and at final follow-up.

Results: At a median follow-up of 47 months (36-52 months), all patients showed significant improvement in pain (p < 0.002) and functional outcome (p < 0.004). Median resting VAS score improved from 6 (3-8) to 0.5 (0-2) and the activity VAS score improved from 8 (6-9) to 2.5 (0-4). EFA improved from 63 to 90. In the English cases, isometric muscular strength also showed significant improvement. All patients were satisfied with the clinical and functional outcomes at final follow-up.

Conclusion: US-guided PRP injection seems to be an effective treatment modality for symptomatic refractory distal biceps tendonitis.

Level of evidence: III.

Keywords: Distal biceps tendonitis; Functional outcome; Isometric muscular (biceps) strength; PRP; VAS.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arm
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tendinopathy / diagnostic imaging
  • Tendinopathy / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional