Diagnosis

BICEPS TENDON TEAR

(Distal at the elbow)


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 Definition Rupture of the biceps tendon at its insertion into the elbow
Details The biceps is a large muscle of the arm that begins at the shoulder and ends by inserting into the elbow at the radius bone. It can rupture at either the shoulder or the elbow. Its primary function is to help bend the elbow.
Causes Biceps tendon ruptures at the elbow are usually due to a sudden violent straightening force applied to an arm that is trying to bend. This can happen when a heavy object falls and an attempt is made to catch it with an open hand. It can also occur during contact sports or martial arts.
Diagnosis Biceps tendon tears at the elbow are diagnosed by a history of an injury associated with immediate pain in the front of the elbow. A snap or pop may also occur. Typically, there is bruising and swelling in the elbow. Difficulty fully straightening the elbow or weakness with bending the elbow are other common complaints. Usually, a biceps tendon tear can be diagnosed by the history and physical examination. Occasionally, however, an MRI is needed to differentiate between a partial and complete tear.
Treatment Nonoperative: Nonoperative treatment consists of gentle range of motion exercises, antiinflammatory medication and physical therapy. This type of treatment results in about 60% of the normal strength of the biceps tendon.

Operative: Operative treatment is indicated for patients who wish to try to restore normal strength to the biceps tendon. The surgical reconstruction, however, is delicate. It is associated with potential damage to the nerves and blood vessles of the elbow and hand. It should only be done by an experienced surgeon. After the repair, the patients is splinted for a period of time and then begins a structured rehabilitation program under the direction of a physical therapist.

Surgery pictures of biceps tendon repair
Prevention

Maintaining excellent strength and flexibility of the shoulder, arm and elbow may prevent some biceps tendon tears.


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