Biceps Tenodesis

This procedure treats loss of mobility and pain in the shoulder from injury, overuse, or chronic tendinitis.

What You Need To Know About Biceps Tenodesis

What is Biceps Tenodesis?

Your bicep muscle helps you do things like bending your forearm toward the upper arm. Any movement that involves lifting and pulling uses these muscles. The biceps muscles are attached to your bone with a biceps tendon.

Over time the biceps tendon can become inflamed due to injury, overuse, and aging. Damage to this tendon can affect your ability to use your shoulder and elbow and can reduce strength in the biceps. Athletes often suffer from torn tissue in this area. However, anyone who uses their biceps for repetitive action can develop the condition.

This minimally-invasive procedure repairs a ruptured or torn biceps tendon. In this procedure, the Long Head of Biceps (LHB) tendon is reattached to the top of the humerus, relieving pain, discomfort and restoring stability and strength to the arm.

Book an appointment with a Resurgens physician at one of our 24 metro Atlanta locations.

Why is a Biceps Tenodesis Procedure Performed?

Tears in your biceps happen in many ways. Some people can develop bicep tears suddenly, while others experience gradual wearing from repetitive shoulder movement.

The most common type of bicep tear occurs when the bicep loosens from the shoulder joint. The biceps tendon attachment can sever from the front or within the shoulder joint. During biceps tenodesis, the surgeon connects the tendon to a new location on the arm bone. After moving, the tendon will no longer connect to the shoulder joint. Since the damaged tendon is no longer attached to the shoulder joint, you will experience less pain.

Some symptoms of bicep tears include:

  • Sharp upper arm pain sometimes accompanied with a popping or snapping sound
  • Cramping after or during heavy use
  • Experiencing pain, tenderness, or weakness at the elbow and shoulder
  • Difficulty moving and rotating arm
  • A bulge in the upper arm sometimes called a "Popeye" muscle

Bicep tenodesis can treat many conditions related to your bicep tendon. This includes biceps tendon rupture, biceps tendinitis, SLAP tears. Sometimes the procedure is often done as part of an extensive shoulder surgery such as rotator cuff repair.

How to Prepare for a Biceps Tenodesis Surgery

Before your surgery, you will need to make some lifestyle adjustments. Tell your physician what medications you're currently taking, and if you have any long-term medical condition like diabetes. Not telling your doctor all of your related health information can endanger your health.

You will need to observe certain precautions. In the days leading up to your surgery, you will need to stop taking any anti-inflammatories like Aleve and Advil. Do not eat or drink at least 8 hours before your surgery. Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing.

Plan to have someone help you get home after the surgery, and to assist you for at least 24 hours immediately after surgery.

Your doctor will be able to give you more exact planning steps. Book an appointment now to learn more about biceps tenodesis.

What Happens During Biceps Tenodesis Surgery?

There are many types of biceps tenodesis surgery. They range from soft tissue surgery to hardware fixation surgery, and from minimally-invasive to traditional open surgery. Your doctor will determine the best treatment for your condition. Generally, all surgeries will follow some version of this workflow.

The surgeon makes an incision in the area of the affected shoulder. This incision allows them to access the problem area. Then they detach the bicep tendon from your labrum. Next, they reattach the loose tendon to your arm bone. Typically the tendon is fixed in place with a special interference screw.

Are There Risks Associated with Biceps Tenodesis Surgery?

All procedures have a certain amount of risk. Since the procedure is surgical, it has the potential for dangers like infection, healing problems, nerve damage, and discomfort. Biceps tenodesis is a relatively safe and effective treatment with a high success rate.

Complications from biceps tenodesis can include:

  • Nerve injury surrounding the shoulder
  • Stiffness from a condition known as "frozen shoulder"
  • Chondrolysis, a condition characterized by damage to the cartilage in the shoulder
  • Stroke, heart attack, and death caused by a reaction to anesthesia

Prior to your surgery, your doctor will give you a full run-down of all complications.

Post Biceps Tenodesis Surgery and Recovery

Plan to recover for at least four to six weeks following your surgery. However, if your surgery was part of a more extensive procedure, you may need longer to improve. Your recovery will take the form of different sections:

For the first four to six weeks, your tissues will heal. You will need to wear a sling. As tissue starts to heal, you can begin to use your arms after six weeks. You can start engaging in a light cardiovascular exercise like walking or riding a stationary bike. A physical therapist will be able to help guide your recovery during this time.

After you have had regular rehabilitation and training sessions, you can start to increase the effort on your hands, arms, and shoulders. After 20 weeks, you can return to regular activity.

Your exact recovery is variable and can change depending on the severity of your injury, the presence of other injuries, your age, health status before surgery, and how well you follow your doctor's instructions.

Book an appointment today and find out how our physicians can help you get moving again.

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