What is biceps tendon surgery?

Tendons are the strong tissues that connect your muscles to your bones. Your biceps tendons attach your upper arm muscles to your shoulder and elbow. Trauma to the tendons results in injury or causes them to tear. Injured tendons also develop over time from small tears that get worse.

When you injure a tendon in your arm, you may experience pain and stiffness. In many cases, tendons heal with conservative treatments of rest, ice and pain medication. However, in more serious cases, you might need surgical tendon repair on your biceps tendons. In this procedure, your doctor performs an operation to sew or reattach your tendon together or to a muscle.

What to expect from biceps tendon surgery

Surgical tendon repair usually takes place in an outpatient setting. You can go home the same day as the procedure. If you need to be in the hospital for the surgery, the stay is short.
Doctors usually perform surgical tendon repair under general anesthesia, so you are completely asleep during the procedure. The doctor makes small incisions in the skin over the tendon. If the tendon is torn, the doctor sews the ends together with small tools. If the tendon is too damaged to sew together, the doctor may need to make a graft. In this case, they remove a piece of tendon from another part of your body and sew it in place of the frayed tendon.

If you have severe tendon damage, the doctor may need to make the repair in more than one operation. After the first operation, you come back for another surgery to complete the repair. The healing process takes up to 12 weeks. You'll wear a splint or cast to protect the tendon as it heals.

Common conditions requiring biceps tendon surgery

Your doctor performs this surgery on torn biceps tendons. These tears can be partial, meaning they don't go all the way through the tendon. They can also be complete tears. That means they tear the tendon into two or more pieces. Tears happen after injuries or if you make the same arm movement over and over. This can make the tendon fray and wear down over time.

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