Elbow Videos: Distal Biceps
- Distal biceps tendon ruptures are treated operatively in active healthy individuals. Treatment consists of either single- or double-incision techniques, each with its own set of advantages and complications. The double incision was traditionally preferred for a more anatomic reattachment of the distal biceps tendon, but there has been renewed interest in the single-incision anterior approach given its lower risk for heterotopic ossification. However, current single-incision techniques cannot achieve anatomic reconstruction of the distal biceps because of a restricted operational angle with standard rigid instruments.
- Distal biceps tendon ruptures are uncommon and generally occur in men aged 30 to 50 years in their dominant arm as a result of a strong eccentric load. Numerous surgical exposures and methods of fixation exist for repair of a ruptured distal biceps tendon. The goal of surgical management is to restore the anatomic footprint of the biceps tendon on the radial tuberosity to maximize flexion strength, supination strength, and muscle endurance. When compared with 2-incision repair techniques, single-incision repairs historically may not have restored the anatomic footprint of the distal biceps.
- In cases of chronic distal biceps ruptures, the combination of muscle atrophy, distal tendon retraction, and fibrosis makes primary anatomic reattachment of the tendon particularly challenging. To regain tendon length and avoid flexion contractures, reconstruction with graft augmentation has been proposed as an alternative for cases not amenable to primary repair. We describe our technique using an Achilles allograft through a modified Henry approach to reconstruct the distal biceps tendon to regain length as well as restore flexion and supination strength.
- Patients who experience distal biceps tendon avulsions generally benefit from surgical intervention. Compared with nonoperative treatment, surgery has shown improved muscle endurance as well as increased flexion and supination strength. Although a number of surgical techniques exist, repair of the distal biceps through a single incision is gaining popularity. This may be due in part to patient preference and emerging technologies such as cortical button fixation, suture anchors, and intraosseous screws.
- Distal biceps rupture is associated with significant functional disability, and surgical treatment involves open or endoscopic-assisted repair of the ruptured tendon through an anterior incision. This report describes an endoscopic approach that is performed with 2 portals for visualization and instrumentation. Preoperative sonography is used to identify bony and soft-tissue landmarks. The viewing portal is a proximal anterolateral “parabiceps portal” developed by the author, and the landmarks and relevant anatomic relations have been derived from a preliminary anatomic study.