What Is It?

Arthroscopic Biceps Tendon Repair is a minimally invasive surgical procedure focused on reestablishing a connection between muscles and bones in the arm.

Your biceps is a commonly known muscle located on the front of your upper arm that helps stabilize the shoulder and bend the elbow, but primarily functions as a forearm rotator (supinator). Tendons on each end of the biceps connect the muscle to the shoulder joint and the forearm.

Why Is It Done?

Much like all shoulder and arm injuries, damage to the biceps tendon can occur through significant trauma involving falls and heavy lifting, or overuse.

Overuse is commonly reached through repetitive arm movements required in several blue-collar occupations and sports participation.

Tendinitis and other injuries in the shoulder and arm increase stress on the biceps tendon, leading to further weakness and damage.

Overstretching in the muscle can lead to strains, pulls, and fraying. As this damage progresses untreated, partial and complete tears can often develop within the biceps tendon.

Tears at the elbow often occur with sudden, extremely forceful loading of the hand, like attempting to pick up a pool table or catching the falling tailgate of a pickup truck.

Damage to the biceps tendon presents itself in the form of several common symptoms. Patients have described upper arm pain associated with tears as sharp and sudden, often accompanied by an audible pop or click. Pain and weakness can extend up to the shoulder or down through the elbow, and muscles can also become more susceptible to cramping. In many cases bruises or a visible bulge may appear above the elbow. As biceps injuries often coincide with other shoulder injuries, it’s both expected and important that your doctor conducts complete shoulder examinations, along with other physical exams, during the preparatory process.

In the event of a damaged or torn biceps tendon at the shoulder, non-surgical treatment is often suggested initially. Rest, Ice, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications are all proven to help limit pain and gradually minimize symptoms of an impaired biceps tendon. If pain and problems continue to arise, or in situations involving highly active people, arthroscopic surgery to repair or reattach the tendon is sometimes required.

If Dr. Torrez diagnoses a tear at the elbow, immediate surgical correction will be recommended.

How Is It Done?

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure in which a thin tube (cannula) is used to examine the inside of a joint by inserting a high-definition, fiber optic camera through small incisions. Once able to visualize the joint from inside, arthroscopic surgery allows surgeons to diagnose specific joint injuries and diseases, and even provides a way to treat certain problems by utilizing surgical instruments through the tube.

Surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon is fairly simple, as it aims to re-anchor the torn tendon back to the bone, if the remaining tissue is viable for anchoring.

Upon the completion of surgery, your shoulder will require rest in a temporary sling. Physical therapy and exercise is imperative, and is suggested fairly early in the rehabilitation process. Rebuilding full strength and mobility can be a somewhat slow process, but treatment plans should eventually and completely correct all muscle deformity, weakness and functionality.