The biceps are essential in flexing the elbow and supinating the forearm. A rupture of the biceps tendon occurs proximally near the shoulder or distally near the elbow. These ruptures mainly occur when the elbow is flexed suddenly or forcefully. Some people might hear a “pop” sound when it happens as the tendon separates from the bone and there may be associated pain, swelling and bruising. If you experience a biceps tendon injury, it’s advised to seek out an orthopedic surgeon. Here’s what to know about biceps injuries and how Dr. Steven S. Goldberg can help.
Diagnosis of a Biceps Tendon Rupture
Typically, tendon ruptures are diagnosed by taking a patient history and conducting a physical examination. The area may look swollen, some bruising might be visible and the area may have a physical deformity. Dr. Goldberg might order an x-ray to rule out other issues. An MRI might also be conducted for visualization of the extent of the injury sustained to the tendon or muscles.
Treatment: Biceps Tendon Repair Surgery
Depending on the type of rupture, surgery might be necessary to restore the elbow to its working condition. Mostly, distal biceps tendon ruptures at the elbow require surgical fixation, and the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. On the other hand, proximal ruptures at the shoulder may be treated without surgery using anti-inflammatories and physiotherapy. Surgery may be an option when a patient can’t tolerate the pain despite these conservative measures. Ultimately, Dr. Goldberg will help you determine your best options for treatment.
Risks Involved with the Surgery
Biceps tendon rapier surgery is generally safe, but there are a few risks. Some include decreased strength, lowered nerve sensation, numbness and reduced range of motion. In most cases, these are temporary. Other risks are also involved may include infection and bone over-growth.
Is a Bicep Tendon Repair Surgery Necessary?
Surgical repair of a ruptured bicep tendon at the elbow has shown to be the optimal treatment. The main goal of the surgery is to repair and restore the strength of the elbow joint. Most people who have this procedure are able to return to all athletic activities, including weightlifting and competitive sports, within a few months.
What to Expect After Surgery
The recovery period depends on the size and type of injury. Most patients will resume their normal lifestyle within 2 to 6 months after the procedure. Dr. Goldberg advises starting physical therapy within the first few days of surgery. With proper care and adequate physical therapy, you should regain the proper range of motion at the elbow joint. While recovering, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Activity – rest any time you feel tired; your body needs time to regain its strength
- Diet – eat your normal diet and drink plenty of fluids to avoid constipation
- Medications – Dr. Goldberg will prescribe medications for short-term post-operative pain
- Incision Care – a bandage will be placed over the incision that does not need to be removed until your follow-up appointment but avoid getting the incision wet
- Physical therapy – Dr. Goldberg will likely refer you to a physical therapist to restore mobility and strength after surgery
Schedule a Consultation
A bicep tendon repair procedure helps reduce pain and restores the normal functioning of the arm when it’s injured. To learn more about your treatment options, contact Dr. Goldberg by calling our Naples, FL office or filling out our online contact form.