Arthroscopic soft tissue tenodesis versus bony fixation anchor tenodesis of the long head of the biceps tendon

Am J Sports Med. 2011 May;39(5):1046-52. doi: 10.1177/0363546510390777. Epub 2011 Jan 21.


Background: Currently there are no prospective data available that compare the different tenodesis techniques of the long head of the biceps tendon with regard to their clinical and structural results.

Hypothesis: Soft tissue tenodesis provides clinical and structural results equivalent to those of bony fixation anchor tenodesis.

Study design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods: Fifty-seven patients with arthroscopically proven lesions of the long head of the biceps tendon (LHB) were prospectively included in this study. Thirty patients (7 women, 23 men; mean age, 57.9 years) were treated with an arthroscopic soft tissue tenodesis (STT) and 27 patients (8 women, 19 men; mean age, 61 years) with an arthroscopic bony fixation anchor tenodesis (BFAT). The clinical evaluation included the Constant score as well as a newly developed LHB score (maximum 100 points) that includes evaluation of pain and cramps (maximum 50 points), the patient- and examiner-dependent grading of the cosmetic result (maximum 30 points), and the measurement of elbow flexion strength (maximum 20 points). The integrity of the tenodesis construct was evaluated indirectly by detecting the position of the LHB using magnetic resonance imaging. A proximal intertubercular location of the tendon was judged as an intact tenodesis construct (3 points), a distal intertubercular location as a failure of tenodesis followed by autotenodesis in the sulcus (2 points), and an extratubercular location as a complete failure (1 point).

Results: Twenty-four patients (5 women, 19 men; mean age, 58.6 years; mean follow-up, 19.6 months) in the STT group and 20 patients (5 women, 15 men; mean age, 59.1 years; mean follow-up, 22.4 months) in the BFAT group could be evaluated. The overall Constant score did not reveal any significant difference in the STT group (mean, 75.0 points) compared with the BFAT group (mean, 78.3 points) (P > .05). However, the BFAT group showed significantly better results in the LHB score (BFAT mean, 91.8 points vs STT mean, 80.9 points), the examiner-dependent evaluation of the cosmetic result (BFAT mean, 11.3 points vs STT mean, 8.0 points), as well as in the evaluation of the structural integrity of the tenodesis construct (BFAT mean, 2.7 points vs STT mean, 2.2 points) (P < .05).

Conclusion: When arthroscopic tenodesis of the LHB is indicated, the authors recommend a bony fixation over soft tissue fixation because anchor fixation provides significant advantages concerning the clinical and structural outcome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arm Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Arm Injuries / surgery*
  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Elbow / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery*
  • Tenodesis / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome