Clinical Outcomes of Revision Biceps Tenodesis for Failed Long Head of Biceps Surgery: A Systematic Review

Arthroscopy. 2021 Dec;37(12):3529-3536. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2021.04.063. Epub 2021 May 21.


Purpose: We summarize the indications, assess the modes of failure, and analyze the clinical and functional outcomes of revision biceps tenodesis after failed primary surgical treatment of long head of biceps (LHB) pathology.

Methods: A computerized search of PubMed, EMBASE, and CINAHL databases and manual screening of selected article reference lists was performed in September 2020. Randomized controlled trial, cohort, case-control, and case series studies reporting clinical outcomes of revision biceps tenodesis following failed LHB surgery were eligible. Patient demographics, indications for revision, intraoperative findings, surgical techniques, and patient-reported outcomes were recorded. Functional assessment and pain scores were assessed and summarized as forest plots with means and 95% confidence intervals.

Results: Five of 465 identified studies met inclusion criteria, encompassing 70 revision biceps tenodesis procedures with mean follow-up of 2.4-6.4 years. The failed index procedure was biceps tenodesis in 62 patients and tenotomy in 8 patients. The most common indications for revision were pain or cramping and rerupture, cited by 4 and 3 articles, respectively. After failed conservative treatment, open subpectoral revision tenodesis was performed with concomitant arthroscopic debridement in 65 of 70 cases. Common intraoperative findings at time of revision were adhesions or scarring (39.0-83.0%), fixation failure (8.7-75.0%), and biceps rupture (17.4-80.0%). Revision tenodesis patients reported good to excellent functional outcomes with improvements in Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Shoulder, and visual analog scale pain scores, and satisfaction ranged from 88.0 to 100%. All studies demonstrated moderate quality of evidence and risk of bias when critically appraised.

Conclusion: This systematic review of 5 moderate risk of bias studies demonstrated that the most common reasons for revision biceps tenodesis were pain or cramping and rerupture. Open subpectoral revision tenodesis with concomitant arthroscopic debridement provided improvements in functional scores with high patient satisfaction at mid-term follow up.

Level of evidence: IV, Systematic Review of level III and IV investigations.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arm / surgery
  • Arthroscopy
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / surgery
  • Tendons / surgery
  • Tenodesis*
  • Tenotomy