Biceps tendon tears


bilateral biceps rupture / tear
Visual diagnosis : bilateral biceps tear.
Here you can read:
What is a biceps rupture ?
Problems with biceps tears ?
How do biceps tears happen ?
How to treat the torn biceps ?


What is a biceps tear ?
Biceps ruptures may occur at the upper ( in the shoulder ) or bottom end ( at the elbow ) of the biceps muscle. Most of the ruptures happen in the shoulder joint, affecting the long head of the biceps tendon. There´s also a short head of the biceps tendon existing ( deriving from the coracoid process ), which nearly never ruptures.


Problems with biceps tears:
Suddenly, a biceps rupture happens. Unconciderable, every day occurrences may lead to such a rupture. Pain might be present, but not necessarily. The muscle snaps down and a swelling will be seen at the distal upper arm, characteristically ( see picture to the right ). This swelling might be accompanied by a dark, huge effusion of blood, which is just a side effect and will vanish within 2 - 3 weeks.


How do biceps tears happen ?
Most of the biceps rupture occur due to degeneration. As time passes the tendon wears off, more and more, and within this time period the patient doesn´t notice anything, at all. He gets aware of his disease at that moment, when the tendon ruptures.


How to treat the torn biceps: ?
Most of the tears of the long head of the biceps tendon will be treated without an operation ( tears at the elbow will mostly be operated ). Pain medication, ointment, local cooling, et cetera will be sufficient, within the first days. Permanently, the popey muscle will maintain. Loss of strenghth in high competition athletes or cosmetic reasons might lead to an operative procedure. If an operation is necessary, it is favourable to perform this procedure within the first days after the rupture had happend ( otherwise the tendon might become to short ).
A classical procedure is the "keyhole operation". A nut is milled into the proximal humerus, the tendon stump is knoted and blocked into the bone. More and more of these operation are made arthroscopically.
New techniques, like suture anchors or bioresorbable screws, make it possible to perform such operations quicker and safer.
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