Torn Bicep Surgery

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An Overview on Torn Biceps Surgery

Located in the front of the upper arm, the biceps muscle is responsible elbow flexion and forearm supination. The biceps tendon can detach from its attachment site at the radial tuberosity during a traumatic event when the elbow is forced straight against resistance such as lifting a heavy object. When the distal biceps tendon ruptures, patients will experience a “popping” sensation followed by pain, weakness and swelling in the anterior elbow. In most cases, surgical repair is necessary to restore strength and function to the elbow. Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California area orthopedic elbow surgeon, Dr. Jervis Yau specializes in surgical repair of the distal biceps tendon in order restore strength and function to the elbow.

Surgical repair is usually the recommended treatment for distal biceps ruptures.  It is important to note that early repair within the first 2 weeks is ideal for optimal outcome after surgery.  Delayed surgery will be more complex and less predictable due tendon retraction and scar tissue formation.

Dr. Yau typically performs a minimally invasive distal biceps repair through a small horizontal incision just distal to the elbow flexion crease. The distal biceps tendon stump will be located and repaired back to its attachment site on the radial tuberosity.

In cases of chronic tears with significant tendon retraction, a graft will be used to reconstruct the torn tendon in order to bridge the gap from the muscle to the bone. The outcome after surgical reconstruction is much less predictable and less favorable when compared to acute primary repair.

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Recovery and Rehabilitation Following Distal Biceps Tendon Repair

Following distal biceps repair, the elbow will be immobilized in a splint to help protect the repair for 7-10 days. Physical therapy will be initiated after splint removal to begin a supervised range of motion program.  Once full motion is achieved, a progressive strengthening program will be initiated around six weeks to restore function and power to the elbow.

Distal Biceps Tendon Repair Recovery Time

Recovery following a surgical distal biceps repair varies from patient to patient.  However, if rehabilitation guidelines are strictly followed, patient typically return to full activity including sports within 4 to 6 months after surgery.

To learn more about a surgical distal biceps tendon repair, or to determine if you are a candidate for a torn bicep surgery, please contact the orthopedic office Dr. Jervis Yau, elbow surgeon located in the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California communities.

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