Surgery for a distal biceps tendon tear repairs a tendon that is torn near the elbow. The distal biceps tendon connects the biceps muscle to the elbow bone. During the surgery, the doctor makes a cut (incision) on the inside of the arm just above the elbow. This allows the doctor to see and repair the tendon. Then the doctor will make another incision on the back of the arm. He or she will reattach the tendon to the bone through that second incision.
If it has been more than a month since the tear, the tendon may have moved farther up your arm. This makes it too short to reattach it directly to the bone. Your doctor may use a piece of tissue called a graft to attach the tendon to the bone. The graft comes from another part of your body, such as the hamstring. Or it may come from a donor. The incisions leave scars that fade with time.
After the surgery you may have a splint or an elbow brace for 4 to 6 weeks. You may also be in a sling for a week or so. Most people go home on the same day as the surgery.
You will need rehabilitation (rehab). This will probably start 4 to 6 weeks after your surgery and last for about 2 months. It takes about 3 to 4 months for your biceps muscle to heal.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: September 20, 2018
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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