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Distal Biceps Tendon Repair
Dr. James Chen, M.D. - In San Francisco, CA

Dr. Chen’s presentation on distal biceps ruptures:

A surgical procedure performed to repair a biceps tendon that has torn from its attachment on the forearm. An incision is made a few centimeters from the crease of the elbow. The biceps tendon is identified and freed from any scar tissue formed around it. Sutures are placed in the tendon and a metal button is threaded onto the sutures. The tendon attachment site on the radius bone of the forearm is then carefully exposed. A small hole is drilled through the bone at the attachment site. The hole is reamed to a larger size on one side so that the tip of the tendon can be dunked into the bone. The metal button is passed through the bone and anchored against the other side. The sutures are tightened, pulling the tendon into the drilled tunnel. The sutures are then tied to secure the tendon in the tunnel.


Dr. Chen's surgical technique for anatomic single-incision repair of distal biceps tendon ruptures using intramedullary soft anchors has been featured in Arthroscopy Techniques - The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery.

Anatomic Single-Incision Repair of Distal Biceps Tendon Ruptures Using Intramedullary Soft Anchors

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Common Questions about Distal Biceps Tendon Repair

How can a distal bicep tendon rupture be diagnosed?

A simple test known as Hook’s test can be used in order to diagnose a distal bicep rupture. In this test, the patient looks at the palm of their hand while their forearm is supinated, elbow is flexed, and shoulder is elevated. If the distal bicep tendon is ruptured, the examiner will not be able to hook their finger around the distal biceps tendon.

What is a distal bicep tendon repair?

A distal bicep tendon repair is a surgical procedure that re-attaches a torn biceps tendon back to its anatomically correct position in the forearm.

How is a distal bicep procedure performed?

An incision is made a few centimeters from the elbow crease in the forearm. The biceps tendon is identified, cleaned, and sutured. A metal button is threaded onto the sutures and a hole is drilled at the anatomically correct attachment site. The button is then placed through this tunnel and anchored on the other side. The tendon is then pulled into tunnel and secured.

What is the rehabilitation process after a distal bicep tendon repair?

For one week after the procedure, the arm should be kept in a posterior splint that is not to be removed. Beginning from the second week, a hinged elbow brace should be worn and unlocked to perform passive range of motion exercises. The brace may be discontinued at the sixth week and light strengthening can begin.

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