What is a biceps tendon injury?

The biceps are two muscles found at the top of the shoulder that travel along the anterior (front) portion of the humerus (upper arm bone). There are two tendons that attach the upper portion of the biceps muscle to the humerus: the long head of the biceps tendon, attached to the superior labrum, and the short head of the biceps tendon, attached to the coracoid process of the scapula (shoulder blade). This muscle and tendon group is responsible for wrist and arm rotation as well as flexing the elbow. When one of the biceps tendons is torn or frayed away from their attachment site, most often the long head of the biceps tendon, resulting in a biceps tendon injury. Significant wear-and-tear or blunt force trauma directly to the shoulder can cause a biceps tendon injury.

What is the treatment for a biceps tendon injury?

The majority of patients that suffer a biceps tendon injury are able to resolve any symptoms with non-surgical therapies alone. However, if a patient experiences more severe pain and cramping, or in the event of failed non-surgical therapies, surgical intervention may be necessary. The biceps tendon can be surgically repaired through debridement in which the damaged tissue fragments are excised and removed, or by removing and reattaching a large portion of the biceps tendon known as biceps tenodesis. The goal of surgical intervention is to reduce any irritation caused by repetitive overhead activities, such as baseball, cricket, and weight-lifting. Dr. Ronak Mukesh Patel, orthopedic shoulder doctor, treats patients in Sugar Land, Pearland, and the Houston, Texas area who have experienced a biceps tendon injury and need a surgical repair.

How is biceps surgery performed?

A biceps tenodesis procedure can be performed arthroscopically using a small camera (arthroscope) and specialized surgical tools. Prior to starting, the patient is placed under anesthesia and situated in the appropriate position. When stable, small incisions are created and a small camera (arthroscope) is inserted through a portal for Dr. Patel to methodically examine the bones, muscles, and tendons of the shoulder. Specialized surgical instruments are then introduced to excise and remove any damaged or frayed portions of the biceps tendon. When all tissue fragments are removed, a tenotomy is performed releasing the biceps tendon from its attachment site. Finally, the remaining tendon is fastened to the humerus with special surgical anchors that are secured within the bone. Although a biceps tenodesis procedure is commonly performed as part of a larger shoulder surgery, it can also be performed on its own.

Biceps Tendon Tear, Ronak Patel, MD, Houston TX

What is the recovery period like after a biceps tendon surgery?

The recovery period following a biceps tenodesis surgery is largely dependent on the severity and complexity of the biceps tendon injury. Most patients in Sugar Land, Pearland, and the Houston, Texas area can expect a functional range of motion in approximately 4 to 6 months with continued improvement in shoulder strength and range of motion for a year or more. Patients can generally expect the following:

  • A sling is applied immediately after surgery to immobilize the shoulder joint and is worn for approximately 4 to 6 weeks.
  • A combination of rest, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) are recommended for pain and inflammation management.
  • Arm movement as soon after surgery as possible is strongly encouraged. Passive range of motion exercises generally begin within the first 1 to 2 days following biceps tendon surgery with the addition of active range of motion exercises approximately 4 weeks after surgery.
  • The key to a successful biceps tendon recovery is adhering to and completing the prescribed physical rehabilitation program designed by Dr. Patel.

Biceps Tendon Surgeon

Have you experienced significant trauma to the shoulder resulting in pain or cramping that was not solved with non-surgical therapy? If so, you may benefit from biceps tenodesis. This procedure is an arthroscopic surgery which repairs and reattaches the biceps tendon, improving your range of motion. Complex shoulder surgeon, Doctor Ronak Mukesh Patel, provides diagnosis and treatment for patients in Houston, Sugar Land, and Pearland, TX who have experienced a biceps tendon injury. Contact Dr. Patel’s team today!