JOURNAL ARTICLE

Complications following distal biceps repair

Richard A Cain, Jason A Nydick, Matthew I Stein, Bailee D Williams, John A Polikandriotis, Alfred V Hess
Journal of Hand Surgery 2012, 37 (10): 2112-7
22938802

PURPOSE: Distal biceps rupture is a relatively uncommon injury. Surgical repair is performed in patients who seek increased flexion and supination strength over that which results from nonoperative treatment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate complications associated with surgical repair of the distal biceps tendon in a large series of patients.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 198 consecutive patients with distal biceps ruptures treated with surgical repair, and evaluated time from injury to repair, surgical technique, and complications.

RESULTS: A total of 72 patients (36%) developed complications; 6 patients underwent additional surgery. Minor complications included lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerve paresthesia (26%), radial sensory nerve paresthesia (6%), and superficial infection (2%). Major complications included posterior interosseous nerve injury (4%), symptomatic heterotropic ossification (3%), and re-rupture (2%).

CONCLUSIONS: Minor complications were common after distal biceps tendon repair; however, most were sensory nerve injuries that resolved with time. Major complications were infrequent, and few patients required revision surgery. Complications were more common after distal biceps tendon repair performed more than 28 days after rupture.

TYPE OF STUDY/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic IV.

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