JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Distal biceps tendon repair: comparison of clinical and radiological outcome between bioabsorbable and nonabsorbable screws.

BACKGROUND: Distal biceps tendon repair to the radial tuberosity can be conducted by means of an interference screw in combination with a transosseous button. Bioabsorbable interference screws have been associated with complications such as severe osteolytic reactions. We questioned whether patients with a distal biceps tendon repair with bioabsorbable poly-L-lactide (PLLA) screws had different functional, clinical, and radiologic outcome than patients with nonabsorbable poly-ether ether ketone (PEEK) screws.

METHODS: Between 2010 and 2014, 23 patients with an acute distal biceps tendon rupture were treated with reinsertion of the distal biceps tendon in a bone tunnel at the radial tuberosity through a single anterior incision using a transosseous button combined with an interference screw. A PLLA screw was used in 12 patients and a PEEK screw in 11 patients. All patients were retrospectively evaluated with a minimal follow-up of 1 year clinically and by means of the visual analog scale for pain, Mayo Elbow Performance Score, and Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand Outcome Measure score. Bone tunnel volume was measured with computed tomography segmentation.

RESULTS: Elbow mobility and arm and forearm circumference were symmetric for all patients. The visual analog scale for pain was 0.2 in the PLLA group and 0.7 in the PEEK group. The Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand score and Mayo Elbow Performance Score were 5.4 and 98.7 in the PLLA group vs. 3.1 and 95.9 in the PEEK group. Bone tunnel enlargement of 43% in the PLLA and 38% in the PEEK group was noted.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinical and functional outcome at more than 1 year after distal biceps tendon repair was excellent in both groups. Bone tunnel widening occurred in all patients.

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