Bicep Tendon Tear

“I am lucky to be treated by Dr Julka"

“My experience with Dr Julka…was wonderful… All the staff made my journey through the surgical process the most pleasant encounter I could have experienced . I am lucky to be treated by Dr Julka. After 8 weeks I can see such a great improvement to my quality of life. I am looking forward to a full recovery from distal bicep tendon repair. Thank you Dr Julka!”

~ Scott  from Google Reviews

Bicep Tendon Tear

What is the bicep tendon?

The bicep tendon is a strong rope like structure that connects your bicep muscle in your arm to your forearm. When you contract your bicep muscle it is the bicep tendon that actually pulls on your arm to bend or rotate (supinate) your elbow.  

What are the symptoms of a bicep tendon tear?

The key symptoms of classic bicep tendon tear are a painful pop or sensation in the elbow that occurs while lifting an object.  Patients will notice significant pain in their elbow region or forearm and may notice bruising and swelling develop as well. This is followed by a sense of weakness and pain with bending of the elbow or rotation of the forearm. Some patients may notice a bulge in their upper arm we call a Popeyes sign where the detached bicep rolls up and spasms. 

How is bicep tendon tear diagnosed?

A bicep tendon tear is diagnosed with a thorough examination, taking a detailed history and obtaining an MRI of the elbow. 

Is an MRI necessary for diagnosis?

An MRI is not necessary for diagnosis but is very helpful if a surgical approach to reattach the biceps is decided on.  

What is done in bicep tendon repair surgery?

Bicep tendon repair or bicep reattachment surgery is performed with a small incision over the site of the tear. The torn bicep tendon is retrieved and reattached to the bone with the assistance of anchors that stitch the tendon down to the bone.  

What kind of anesthesia is required?

The vast majority of our bicep tendon repair surgeries are performed with numbing of the arm as well as sedation provided by an anesthesiologist. General anesthesia is rarely required. 

Do I have to stay overnight in the hospital?

All of our bicep tendon repair surgeries are performed in a surgery center on an outpatient basis. 

What can I do after my surgery?

You will be placed in a small soft bandage and sling after your surgery. Unless instructed otherwise you will be allowed to remove your bandage in 48 hours and place a small dressing or band aid over the incision.  We require you do not actively use your arm till 6-8 weeks after surgery. It is very important that we allow your bicep to fully heal down to bone prior to placing any stress on the repair. You will be allowed to shower once the dressing is removed. Guided therapy performed with an occupational therapist will start 2 weeks following surgery and continue for up to 3 months. 

When can I get back to my normal activities?

After bicep tendon repair or reattachment surgery we will release you back to your regular activities at 12 weeks.  Some patients may be ready to return to normal activities slightly sooner and some a little later. We value every patient as an individual and will do our best to get you back to your normal life as soon as possible. 

How do I know if I need to seek treatment?

We recommend you seek treatment as soon as possible after a suspected bicep tendon tear particularly if you are interested in reattachment of the bicep tendons. If you have had a failed bicep tendon repair in the past, nerve injury or poor elbow motion after a repair we would be happy to see you as well. Dr. Julka and the JIS hand, wrist and elbow team is happy to see patients with bicep tears that have just occurred as well as chronic tears that may have been missed or misdiagnosed. You do not have to live with elbow pain, our team of experts are here to help.