Immediate active range of motion after modified 2-incision repair in acute distal biceps tendon rupture

Akin Cil, Sheri Merten, Scott P Steinmann
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2009, 37 (1): 130-5

BACKGROUND: Different rehabilitation protocols have been used after repair of distal biceps ruptures.

PURPOSE: This study investigates the safety of immediate active range of motion protocol after modified 2-incision distal biceps tendon repair in acute ruptures.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-one patients with a minimum follow-up of 2 years were participants in this study. After repair, the upper extremities were placed in a sling for 1 to 2 days and then immediate active range of motion was started. For the first 6 weeks, the elbow was allowed activities of daily living as tolerated by the patient with a 1-lb weight-lifting restriction. Elbow range of motion, isometric and dynamic flexion, and supination strengths were recorded and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) scores were obtained.

RESULTS: Mean follow-up extension was 0 degrees and mean follow-up flexion was 141 degrees on the operated side, with supination of 74 degrees and pronation of 75 degrees. The mean DASH score for 21 patients was 3.6 +/- 3.6 (range, 0-11.4). The mean follow-up isometric flexion strength was found to be 5% (P = .411), and the power (dynamic strength) of flexion was 12% greater on the operated side (P = .046). However, follow-up isometric supination strength was 9% less on the involved side than on the noninvolved side (P = .030), and the power of supination was 11% less on the operated side (P = .007). There were no tendon reruptures at follow-up, determined by physical examination.

CONCLUSION: A modified 2-incision distal biceps repair allows a safe immediate active range of motion protocol with early return of nearly full range of motion and strength, without any clinically significant disability.

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