Biceps Tendon Repair: Results of 10 Years of Work in the Field

Four doctors from three orthopedic and sports medicine clinics present a safe and simple operation for tendonitis and rupture of the biceps muscle. The method has been used for over 10 years. This is the first report on it.

Twenty-five patients had the operation. An arthroscope was used to get a close look at the damage. This operation is done when the doctor can see a partial or complete tear of the tendon. The authors describe in detail the steps in this operation. They advise other surgeons to look at other parts of the shoulder affected by a frayed or torn tendon.

During an arthroscopic operation, a long, thin tool goes through the skin directly into the joint. There's a tiny TV camera on the end to guide the surgeon. In this study the doctors combined arthroscopy with a small incision as well. This is called an arthroscopic assisted mini-open tendon repair.

Guidelines for post-operative rehab are also provided. The specific program depends on whether or not the rotator cuff was repaired along with the biceps. Sometimes a piece of bone from the end of the collarbone is also removed. This is another factor that guides the steps in rehab.

The authors conclude that their method of biceps tendon repair has good results. The patient ends up with a tiny scar along the line of a natural skin fold, and there is good shoulder and arm function. With this technique the surgeon can find the torn tendon quickly and easily. Mini-open arthroscopy is needed when the tendon is torn completely and has pulled away from the bone.

References: William B. Wiley, MD, et al. Arthroscopic Assisted Mini-Open Biceps Tenodesis: Surgical Technique. In Arthroscopy. April 2004. Vol. 20. No. 4. Pp. 444-446.