Scientific article| Volume 45, ISSUE 2, P156.e1-156.e9, February 2020

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Diagnosis, Etiology and Outcomes of Revision Distal Biceps Tendon Reattachment


      To evaluate the incidence, etiology, and clinical outcomes after revision distal biceps tendon repair. We hypothesized that re-ruptures are rare and can be reattached with satisfactory results.


      Cases were identified from the case log of the senior author. Demographic information, details regarding the primary repair and subsequent injury, time between reinjury and reattachment, and operative findings were recorded. Clinical outcomes were assessed using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons–Elbow (ASES-E) functional outcome scoring systems. Range of motion, strength, and ability to return to work were recorded.


      We identified 10 patients with re-rupture, all of whom were men. Average age was 46 years (range, 35–57 years). Four ruptures occurred in the dominant arm. Three patients had a history of bilateral ruptures. Incidence of primary failure was 1.1%. In 6 patients, re-rupture occurred 6 days to 11 months after the primary surgery. Three patients described a sense of ripping or tearing after a specific traumatic event. Four others had persistent pain after the primary reattachment. Re-rupture resulted from the loss of fixation owing to technical error, the suture pulling out from the tendon, or suture breakage. Two patients required an allograft. The hook test was abnormal in 3 patients. Magnetic resonance imaging results did not affect the operative plan. Nine patients returned to their former occupation. Five returned for follow-up evaluation and completion of the DASH and ASES-E self-assessment examinations. Average DASH score was 4.4 (range, 0–19) and average ASES-E was 93.2 (range, 74–100). Postoperative average elbow flexion was 141° (range, 135° to 145°), elbow extension was –12° (range, –5° to –30°), pronation was 70°, and supination was 80°. Postoperative average supination strength was 87.8% of the nonsurgical arm (range, 79% to 106%); average pronation strength was 79.2% of the nonsurgical arm (range, 50% to 110%).


      Revision reattachment resulted in acceptable functional outcomes.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Therapeutic V

      Key words

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