Key Points about Biceps Tenodesis (Tendon Surgery)

  • Biceps tenodesis is a procedure used to repair damaged bicep tendons.
  • If nonsurgical therapy has not proven effective in treating biceps tendon symptoms, you may be a candidate for bicep tendon surgery.
  • Your doctor will make a series of several small incisions to access the affected area and will use sutures and fixative devices to reattach the healthy part of the tendon to the bone.
  • Recovery from a biceps tenodesis surgery is a lengthy process that can take up to a year. You will likely need to wear a sling and start physical therapy as soon as possible after surgery.

Overview

Biceps tenodesis is an orthopedic surgery performed to repair the tendon that connects your bicep muscle to the shoulder. Tendon issues in the shoulders often occur in athletes.

The goal of surgery is to relieve shoulder pain associated with inflammation and tendon wear due to injury, overuse, or aging.

The procedure can be performed as a stand-alone procedure or as a part of more complex shoulder surgery. 

Who is a candidate for Shoulder Biceps Tenodesis (Tendon Surgery)?

You may be a candidate for a shoulder biceps tenodesis if you have significant biceps tendon symptoms and inflammation and nonsurgical therapies, such as rest, medications, physical therapy, and cortisone injections have not provided relief.In many cases, your orthopedic surgeon will recommend a bicep tenodesis in conjunction with other shoulder surgery such as rotator cuff surgery. 

Risks associated with Shoulder Biceps Tenodesis (Tendon Surgery)

While complications associated with biceps tenodesis surgery are not common, they can occur. Complications may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Reaction to anesthesia

If you are having larger shoulder surgery, you may experience:

  • Nerve damage surrounding the shoulder
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Cartilage damage in the shoulder joint

Preparation for Shoulder Biceps Tenodesis (Tendon Surgery)

Your care team will outline what you need to do to prepare for surgery, including:

  • Do not eat or drink anything within eight hours of your surgery.
  • Inform your doctor of any medications you are taking, including herbal medicines.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • Coordinate to have a driver take you home after surgery.

What to Expect During Shoulder Biceps Tenodesis (Tendon Surgery)?

Bicep tenodesis is performed under general anesthesia. Before performing the procedure, your doctor will evaluate the extent of the damage using an arthroscope inserted into the shoulder area.

During a biceps tenodesis procedure, your orthopedic surgeon will cut the bicep and sews the healthy portion of the tendon to the humerus bone using screws and an anchoring device. 

Duration of Shoulder Biceps Tenodesis (Tendon Surgery) Recovery

Biceps Tenodesis surgery takes approximately one hour. You will be monitored for one to two hours before you can go home. You will need to have a driver take you home as you will not be allowed to drive for 24 hours.

Recovery from shoulder biceps tenodesis is a long process. While most patients experience some improvement within four to six months, complete recovery can take as long as a year.

Generally, you will need to wear a sling for four to six weeks after surgery. Physical therapy is recommended starting a week or two after surgery.