Trends associated with distal biceps tendon repair in the United States, 2007 to 2011

Dean Wang, Nirav B Joshi, Frank A Petrigliano, Jeremiah R Cohen, Elizabeth L Lord, Jeffrey C Wang, Kristofer J Jones
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery 2016, 25 (4): 676-80

BACKGROUND: Current studies investigating surgical treatment of distal biceps tendon tears largely consist of small, retrospective case series. The purpose of this study was to investigate the current patient demographics, surgical trends, and postoperative complication rates associated with operative treatment of distal biceps tendon tears using a large database of privately insured, non-Medicare patients.

METHODS: Patients who underwent surgical intervention for distal biceps tendon tears from 2007 to 2011 were identified using the PearlDiver database. Demographic and surgical data as well as postoperative complications were reviewed. Statistical analysis was performed using linear regression analysis and χ(2) tests, with statistical significance set at P < .05.

RESULTS: A total of 1443 patients underwent surgical treatment for distal biceps tendon tears. Men and patients aged 40 to 59 years accounted for 98% and 72% of the cohort, respectively. Regarding surgical technique, reinsertion to the radial tuberosity was preferred (95%) over tenodesis to the brachialis (5%) (P < .01). In total, revision surgery for tendon rerupture occurred in 5.4% of treated patients. The incidence of revision surgery for rerupture in acute and chronic distal biceps tears was 5.1% and 7.0%, respectively (P = .36). Postoperative infection and peripheral nerve injury rates were 1.1% and 0.6%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Surgeons strongly preferred anatomic reinsertion to the radial tuberosity for treatment, regardless of the chronicity of the injury. Postoperative complication rates were similar to those found in prior studies, although the true rate of rerupture may be higher than previously thought.

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