Does a Torn Bicep Require Surgery?
Isolated, proximal bicep tendon tears may not require surgery depending on a patient’s age, activity level, and severity of symptoms. Older, more sedentary patients can often have their proximal bicep rupture treated non surgically, with the expectation that they will not have long term pain or loss of function. However, proximal bicep tendon ruptures in older patients are often associated with rotator cuff tears, and these usually require surgery as these will not heal and will worsen over time. Younger patients with isolated proximal bicep tendon ruptures often require surgery in order to restore full strength and prevent chronic pain. Surgery consists of anchoring the biceps tendon into a groove at the top of humerus bone where the tendon normally sits.
Distal biceps tendon tears almost always require surgery as they do not heal, and most patients will continue to experience weakness and a crampy pain in their bicep without surgery. Moreover, the longer one waits for surgical repair, the harder the surgery is to perform and often the results of surgery are not as good. In distal bicep tendon repair surgery, the biceps tendon is reattached to its normal attachment site on the tip of the radius bone at the elbow.