DAVE WATTS, MD
Biceps Tendon Repair
The biceps muscle is in front of the upper arm. The basic function of the bicep muscle is to help bend the elbow and facilitate its rotational movement. Biceps muscle also provides stability to the shoulder joint.
There are two tendons in the biceps muscle. One of the muscles attaches the arm to the shoulder, and the other attaches it to the elbow. The biceps tendon at the elbow is called distal biceps tendon. A tear of the biceps tendon makes it difficult to move the arm from the palm-down to palm-up position. A torn distal biceps tendon cannot regrow to the bone. The patient will have permanent weakness in the rotatory movements of the forearm. Surgical repair is the only way to fix a distal biceps tendon.
The orthopedic surgeon can use different options to reattach the distal biceps tendons to the forearm bone. One procedure requires the surgeon to make one incision while in the other two incisions are required. The surgeon may use stitches or a small metal implant to attach the tendon.
The surgeon makes a small incision over the upper forearm during distal biceps tendon repair. The bicep muscle is attached to radius bone. The surgeon brings back the torn biceps to its original position using incision. After that, the radius bone is prepared for tendon reattachment and promoting healing. The surgery involves inserting two sutures into the bone, serving as anchors. The sutures of the suture anchors are passed through the tendon in an interlocking manner to ensure strengthened tendon repair.
Upon completion of the surgery, the surgeon will apply a hinged elbow brace to the elbow bent at 90 degrees. The doctor will remove the brace after 6 weeks. It may take from six months to a year to regain full strength.
Associated Risks and Complications
Biceps tendon repair usually does not involve complications. However, it may sometimes cause numbness and weakness in the forearm, limited movement, the formation of new bone, or re-tearing.