Does Biceps Tendonitis Require Surgery?
Normally, biceps tendonitis can be effectively treated without surgery. However, if there is actual tearing of the bicep tendon and if a patient’s condition worsens or does not respond to non-surgical treatments, surgical treatment may be recommended. This is particularly true for patients who have other associated shoulder problems such as rotator cuff tears or labral tears. In these cases, arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair the torn bicep tendon and address other associated problems is indicated.
In surgery, the diseased and torn portion of the bicep tendon is removed and then the healthy portion of the bicep tendon is reattached to the humerus bone back within a groove in the bone where the tendon is normally located. At the same time, any other torn tissues are also repaired arthroscopically. Due to the minimally invasive nature of this surgery, patients experience a quicker recovery. After healing from surgery and fully recovering, patients can expect full, painless shoulder range of motion, full strength, and no pain in the biceps.
Another type of biceps tendon surgery is to release the long head of the biceps tendon, which is called a tenotomy. Many shoulder surgeons do this in most of their patients with biceps tendon tears, but Dr. Cunningham reserves this procedure for older, lower demand patients as there could be some residual weakness or crampy pain in the biceps for those who do a lot of overhead work or overhead sports. This treatment also leaves the patient with a minor bulge in the arm. However, most patients can do very well with a tenotomy and have a resolution of their pain. The recovery time from tenotomy is also somewhat shorter than a biceps repair. Dr. Cunningham is a shoulder specialist at Vail Summit Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery. He is an expert at diagnosing and treating biceps tendonitis for patients in Vail, Summit County, Aspen, and Denver, CO. Contact Dr. Cunningham today.