Biceps Tendon Repair

What is biceps tendon repair?

The biceps muscle is located in front of your upper arm. It helps in bending your elbow as well as in rotational movements of your forearm. Also, it helps to maintain stability in the shoulder joint. The biceps muscle has two tendons, one ofwhich attaches it to the bone in the shoulder and the other attaches at the elbow. The biceps tendon at the elbow is called the distal biceps tendon and if there is a tear in this tendon, you will be unable to move your arm from the palm-down topalm-up position. Once the distal biceps tendon is torn, it cannot regrow back to the bone and heal by itself. Permanent weakness during rotatory movements of the forearm may occur if the tendon is not repaired surgically.

There are several procedures to accomplish reattachment of the distal biceps tendon to the forearm bone. Some techniques require two incisions while in others one incision may be sufficient. In some cases, the tendon is reattached using stitchespassed through holes drilled in the bone. Sometimes, a small metal implant may be used to attach the tendon.

Surgical technique for biceps tendon repair

During distal biceps tendon repair, your surgeon makes a small incision over the upper forearm, where the biceps muscle attaches to the radius bone. The torn biceps tendon is brought up through the incision. Then, the radius bone is prepared fortendon reattachment and to promote healing. Two suture anchors will be inserted into the bone. These serve as anchorage for the tendon. The sutures from the suture anchors are passed through the tendon in a particular interlocking manner so as toensure a strong tendon repair.

Post-operative care following biceps tendon repair

After the repair is complete, a hinged elbow brace will be applied with your elbow bent at 90 degrees. The brace will be removed after 6 weeks and it may take up to 6months -1 year to regain full strength.

Risks and Complications associated with biceps tendon repair

Complications are rare and may include numbness and weakness in the forearm, formation of new bone, limited movement, and re-tearing may occur.