Comparing and contrasting methods for tenodesis of the ruptured distal biceps tendon

Hand Clin. 2002 Feb;18(1):169-78. doi: 10.1016/s0749-0712(02)00009-4.


The evidence is clear that anatomic reinsertion is the best treatment for an active, compliant patient with an acute distal biceps rupture or a subacute rupture without significant proximal retraction of the tendon. Patients with partial tears and chronic ruptures require surgical attention when persistently symptomatic. Biceps tenodesis through dual incisions or a single anterior incision is a safe, highly reliable, and effective operation. The posterior interosseous nerve is potentially at risk with either approach. This risk is minimized by avoiding exposure and retraction of the nerve. Heterotopic ossification and subsequent proximal radio-ulnar synostosis are reported complications of the two-incision technique. The incidence of this devastating complication has been reduced, but not eliminated, by using a limited posterior forearm muscle-splitting incision and by not exposing the ulna. It is the authors' belief that a single anterior incision with suture anchor fixation of the distal biceps (in the manner described herein) is the surgical treatment of choice for most distal biceps ruptures. Compared with the two-incision method, the posterior interosseous nerve is at no more risk and the chance of heterotopic ossification is diminished. The secure fixation obtained and the limited surgical exposure required allow for early mobilization and rapid return of function.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Elbow Joint / injuries
  • Elbow Joint / physiopathology
  • Elbow Joint / surgery
  • Humans
  • Orthopedic Procedures / methods*
  • Rupture / diagnosis
  • Rupture / physiopathology
  • Rupture / surgery*
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnosis
  • Tendon Injuries / physiopathology
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery*
  • Tendons / anatomy & histology
  • Tendons / physiology