Biceps Tendon Repair
The biceps tendon, or distal biceps tendon, allows for the general movement in your arm. At a point known as the radial tuberosity, the tendon attaches upper arm muscles to the arm bone. Free movement, rotation, and bending of the arm are all associated with the bicep tendon.
After overuse, inactivity, or natural aging, tendon tissue can tear. Partial tendon tears are less common than complete tears, where the tendon completely severs into two pieces. Arm muscle detaches from the bone and is forced toward the shoulder. Both partial and complete tears can occur in the dominant and non-dominant arm. Surgery offers relief after tears occur.
Before a procedure, patients can identify tears by symptoms. When a patient tears their tendon, they will hear a small “pop” and notice a deep pain near the elbow. This pain may fade over two weeks, but other symptoms may occur:
- Swelling and bruising near the elbow
- Difficulty twisting and bending the arm
- A noticeable bulge in the upper arm from the recoiled muscle
A bicep tendon injury will not heal on its own. After medications fail to relieve symptoms, surgery reattaches the tendon. Depending on the extent of the injury, different surgical approaches are used. One or two incisions are made near the elbow for tendon access. (If you chose an arthroscopic approach, you can expect these incisions to be smaller). With a complete tear, the tissue is stitched or stapled to the bone. A metal implant may also be placed in your arm.
During a partial tear procedure, the doctor will shave off the damaged fibers.
After surgery, a cast or splint will cradle your arm. Resistance exercises are used to regain arm strength. The arm will fully heal after 2-3 months of exercise, rest, and light activity. Bicep surgery can make your arm, and life, mobile again.