For athletes who participate in overhead sports that involve repetitive activities and motion such as swimming, tennis, and basketball, biceps tendonitis or instability can be a common source of shoulder pain. Most often is it is the long head of the biceps tendon that is injured leading to inflammation as a result of the wear and tear. This injury presents itself with ongoing shoulder pain and shoulder weakness. SLAP tears occur where the biceps tendon attaches inside the shoulder and frequently occur in conduction with long head biceps disorders.
If conservative measures using rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) do not heal this injury, Dr. Millett may perform arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair the injured biceps tendon. During surgery, Dr. Millett will make tiny incisions into the shoulder and enter the area using a microscope and tiny instruments to make the repair. If the tendon is too badly damaged, Dr. Millett may opt to remove the damaged portion of the tendon and reattach the healthy portion of the tendon to the arm bone. This procedure is known as a biceps tenodesis and essentially moves the attachment of the tendon to a new position so that it remains out of the way of the shoulder joint so that overhead activity can resume. This is highly effective and Dr. Millett has performed over 2,000 of these procedures with excellent results.
Dr. Millett may perform a biceps tenodesis as an isolated procedure, but often, it is combined with a rotator cuff repair or another necessary procedure for the shoulder. The reason for this is because the biceps tendon passes through the rotator cuff to go into the shoulder joint and when the rotator cuff becomes torn, the long head biceps tendon can become unstable.
A biceps tenodesis is usually performed as a measure to correct more significant biceps tendon symptoms or to correct problems where the biceps attaches, known as a SLAP tear. This particular treatment for torn biceps is particularly useful in patients over the age of 35.
Patients who undergo arthroscopic shoulder surgery for the treatment for torn biceps and for biceps tendonitis have predictable and excellent outcomes that have shown to be durable and reproducible. Most will regain full range of motion in a few short weeks. Following the rehab protocol and physical therapy regime, will help to ensure a successful recovery.