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Surgery for a tear of biceps tendon

If you are suffering from pain, tenderness or weakness in your arm as a result of a biceps tendon tear, our surgical procedure can ease your pain.

What is tenodesis of biceps tendon?

A biceps tenodesis is a type of surgery which is used to treat a tear in the tendon which connects your biceps muscle to your shoulder. The tenodesis may be performed alone or as part of a larger procedure on your shoulder.

I have a question about tenodesis of biceps tendon

Why would I have tenodesis of biceps tendon?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a tear in the tendon which connects your biceps muscle to your shoulder you may require a tenodesis of your bicep tendon. Your tendons attach muscle to bone and your biceps tendons attach the biceps muscle of your upper arm to the elbow on one end and to the shoulder on the other. A long head biceps tendon (LHB) is the most common type of biceps tendon injury.

What are the symptoms of a biceps tendon injury?

Tears in your biceps tendon may develop over time from repetitive motions of the shoulder or happen quickly from a traumatic injury. The most common type of biceps tendon injury occurs in the long head biceps tendon. Symptoms of a biceps tendon tear can include:

  • Pain, tenderness or weakness in your shoulder and elbow
  • Difficulty rotating your arm to a palm upward (or downward) position
  • Cramping in your biceps during or after heavy use
  • Appearance of bruises from the middle of your bicep down toward your elbow
  • A bulge may appear in your upper arm, known as “Popeye muscle”
  • A sudden, sharp pain in your upper arm which is sometimes accompanied by a popping or snapping sound

Who is likely to get a biceps tendon tear?

Some people are more prone to tearing their biceps tendon due to lifestyle choices and unavoidable factors such as:

  • Age – the older you get, the more wear and tear your biceps will undergo
  • Smoking – nicotine can reduce the supply of nutrients to the tendon and cause it to weaken
  • Corticosteroids – this is a drug commonly used to treat many medical conditions including joint aches, have been linked to a higher risk of a biceps tear
  • Overuse of the shoulder – sports requiring repeated overhead arm motion like swimming and tennis can strain your biceps tendon. You may also have a job which is physically demanding

Why is a bicep tenodesis performed?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a biceps tendon tear, you can still function well. You can have simple treatments such as applying ice, taking pain relief, rest, physiotherapy and cortisone injections may all help with recovery. However, if these non-surgical methods do not help, your Consultant will assess your mobility in your arm and shoulder to determine how severe your bicep tear is.

What happens during a biceps tenodesis surgery?

Biceps tenodesis is performed under general anaesthesia and is usually carried out through a small, open incision. Before beginning the surgery, your surgeon will first look inside the shoulder joint with a small camera called an arthroscope.

During a biceps tenodesis surgery, your Surgeon will insert a special type of screw or anchoring device into the upper part of the humerus (the upper arm bone). Your surgeon will then operate on the long head of the biceps and sew the remaining portion of the tendon onto the anchoring device so that it’s reattached to the humerus.

What should I expect after a biceps tenodesis surgery?

Your recovery time from a biceps tenodesis is a long process. Your Consultant will advise you to rest, wear a sling and physiotherapy. Four to six months after surgery, you can expect to have a functional range of motion adequate strength. It can take up to a year to make a complete recovery.

Sports injury care at Benenden Hospital

Sports injury care

Whether you're an amateur or a professional athlete, sports injuries can be a frustrating and painful part of participating in physical activity.

That's why we offer a wide range of self-pay treatment options - so you can get back to taking part in the sports you love.

Our Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons

Mr Neen

Daniel Neen

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Neen's specialities include clavicle surgery, shoulder surgery, elbow surgery and wrist and hand surgery.

Mr Thakral

Hemant Thakral

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Thakral's specialties include shoulder arthroscopic surgery, complex joint replacements for arthritis and trauma.

Consultant Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon Mr Paolo Consigliere

Paolo Consigliere

Consultant Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon

Mr Paolo Consigliere specialities include arthroscopy, tendon operations and treatment for frozen shoulder.

Contact us about surgery for a tear of biceps tendon

It's easy to find out more about treatment by giving us a call or completing our enquiry form.