Patient-oriented functional outcome after repair of distal biceps tendon ruptures using a single-incision technique

Authors: Michael D. McKee, Rahim Hirji, Emil H. Schemitsch, Lisa M. Wild, James P. Waddell

References: J Shoulder Elbow Surg 2005 May-Jun;14(3):302-6.

Using a patient-oriented outcome questionnaire, in addition to standard outcome measures, we sought to determine the outcome of patients who had repair of a complete rupture of the distal biceps tendon via a single anterior incision technique with suture anchors. We identified 62 patients who were treated operatively by a single surgeon over an 8-year period for a diagnosis of complete rupture of the distal biceps tendon. Of the patients, 9 could not be located for final follow-up, and 53 of 62 (85%) participated in the study. All patients were men, and their mean age was 42 years. All repairs were performed via a single anterior incision by use of 2 suture anchors in the bicipital tuberosity on an outpatient basis. There were 4 complications (4/53 [7.5%]): 1 wound infection, 2 transient paresthesias in the lateral cutaneous nerve distribution, and 1 posterior interosseous nerve palsy that resolved in 6 weeks (no reoperations). There were no reruptures, and no patient lost more than 5° of elbow flexion- extension or forearm rotation. All patients completed the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) questionnaire. The mean DASH score was 8.2 ± 11.6 (95% CI, 5.2 to 11.9), which was similar to the mean DASH score in population controls of 6.2 (DASH User Manual). The strengths of our study include the consistent surgical technique by a single surgeon, the large number of patients, and the use of a patient-oriented outcome measure. Distal biceps tendon rupture repair via a single-incision technique with suture anchors was effective in restoring injured arms to normal, as measured by limb-specific patient-oriented measures, with minimal morbidity and a low complication rate.


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