What is Biceps Tendon Repair?
The biceps muscle has two tendons, one that attaches it to the shoulder bone and one that attaches to the elbow. Although tendons are tough, overuse can cause inflammation of tendons called tendonitis, which leads to pain. It usually occurs due to repetitive motion which is most commonly seen among people who play baseball, tennis or golf. It can happen at the shoulder or elbow.
In case of constant overuse, the tendon can eventually rupture at the shoulder or elbow. The tear can be either complete or partial. If the biceps tendon gets torn you’ll likely experience pain, swelling and redness as well as a loss of strength in your arm. In most cases, surgery is not required. However, if symptoms are severe, surgery to repair the torn tendon is required, which is called biceps tendon repair.
What Causes Biceps Tendon Tear?
The two leading causes of biceps tendon tear are:
- Moving or twisting your elbow/shoulder in an awkward way
- If you lift something very heavy or if you fall with an outstretched arm, it can cause a tear
- The tear can be a result of wearing down of the tendon that happens slowly with age. However, it can be worsened due to overuse (repetition of similar shoulder movements again and again).
What are the Symptoms of Biceps Tendon Tear?
The most common symptoms of biceps tendon tear include:
- Snapping or popping sensation
- Sudden piercing pain in the upper arm or elbow
- Cramping of the biceps muscles
- Tenderness at the elbow and shoulder
- Difficulty turning the palm up or down
- A bulge/swelling in the upper arm above the shoulder may appear (Popeye muscle)
What Happens During Biceps Tendon Repair?
It is important to know that the biceps tendon has two attachments at the shoulder: a long head and a short head. Most commonly, the long head gets injured. Since there are two attachments, many people can still function, even with the damaged tendon. Therefore, many people need only simple conservative treatment for a biceps rupture including rest, icing and medications.
If the symptoms are severe and the patient needs a complete recovery of the strength, such as athletes, the orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery. Surgery may also be advised for those whose symptoms do not get resolved with conservative methods. Several new procedures are available that can repair the tendon with minimal incisions. The aim of the surgery is to reattach the torn tendon to the bone. The orthopedic surgeon will discuss with you the methods that are most suitable for your case.
How is the Recovery?
After the surgery, your arm will be supported by a sling. Your doctor will prescribe certain medications to reduce the pain. As a part of rehabilitation, your doctor will soon start therapeutic and flexibility exercises to improve the strength and range of motion. The key to good recovery is to strictly follow the doctor’s advice after the surgery. Although it may take time, regular physical therapy plays a big role in good recovery.
Why Choose Treasure Valley Hospital for this surgery?
When you are injured, in pain and your movement is restricted, you want the best orthopedic care available near you. At Treasure Valley Hospital you have access to the most accomplished orthopedic doctors with the latest techniques at their disposal. Because Treasure Valley Hospital is a small, physician-owned facility, our staff is able to focus completely on providing high-quality patient care at a lower cost.