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Torn distal biceps tendon
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Torn distal biceps tendon

I am 38 years old, 150 lbs, and weight train and exercise.  I am in very good condition.  Two months ago, however, I completely tore my distal biceps tendon at my left elbow while improperly lifting some drywall at my construction job.  At the time I didn't realize the extent of the injury.  I iced it, rested it, and after a few days gradually began using my left arm again.  A few later a friend encouraged me to see an orthopoedic surgeon.  He recommended an MRI.  The MRI showed a complete tear. I decided to have surgery to repair the tear.  However, since the injury was approximately two months old, the surgeon would have to insert the biceps tendon to the same insertion as the brachialis muscle, since too much time had passed and the biceps tendon had already begun to atrophy.  The surgery was supposed to have been today (8/16/05) except when I went in for my pre-op appoinment yesterday, the surgeon, after physically examining my arm, said that my biceps tendon had scarred down and healed almost exactly where he would have inserted it surgically.  Doing the surgery, according to him, could not improve what has already been accomplished naturally.
Is that really possible?  No additional MRI was recommended to verify that the tendon has indeed healed correctly.  Should I insist for another MRI?  At mt original consultation he did mention spontaneous healing by scarring down, so the idea is not foreign to me.  But I have been using my arm extensively over the past 5 weeks since I first met with the surgeon and had my MRI.  Can it heal in that amount of time?
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Did you ever get any additional info on this?  What's your status now?  I was diagnosed today with distal biceps tendon rupture, the injury occured 4 weeks ago.  I'm very athletic and want to make sure to regain 100% use of my arm.  Thanks.  -Buck
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In general, these don't generally get repaired surgically because patients do get functional use out of the arm after injury (with the scarring/healing)...it just tends to look strange (like a higher, rounder bicep)
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I am 68,in better than average condititon and have torn my left bicep tendon all the way down to the radial tuberosity.Too late to operate. Does anyone know if pain will ultimately go away and will it affect my ability to play golf as that is the arm which pulls through and receives the impact of the club hitting the ball. Thanks for your input.
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A friend of mine who is 60 and in great shape and is a weight lifter and eat right has a diagnosis of torn bicept.  The doc will not do surgery due to his age and told him that the tenden will never re attatch.  Are there any other options or avenues you could inform us of so he can get full use of his arm again?
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A friend of mines husband had sx when his tore/ruptured. Now his sx was I think a week later. I would always go and have a second opinion if they won't due what you are asking.

My huband tore/ruptured his pec last year and had sx a week later. I made the appt. the day after the tear. The dr said he had never seen anyone with such a fresh tear. He said people usually wait a week or two. we did not want to wait. He had a good recovery and is back in the gym. But my husband use to bodybuild and said he might like to go back to it one day.
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I have a pain on my right shoulder blade, "medial border " I have no idea what it is  does anyone know?
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I would tell your friend to get a second opinion.  If your 60 yo friend is still active and he wants to resume normal athletic activities than he will need the surgery sooner than later!!! Is it a distal tear or a proximal tear? If it is proximal (near the shoulder) then they usually don't repair those because the biceps are attached in two places proximally.
I am 42 y/o and I tore my right distal tendon in October '06 and just tore my left distal biceps tendon in July  '07!!(Dr said this was very rare)  I had the same surgeon repair both tendons and he did a great job.  I am almost back to normal with the right arm and am using my left arm quite a bit and lifting 5 lbs with it after only 7 weeks after surgery.
My ortho surgeon said that it is important to get the injury repaired within 3 weeks or so for optimal results.  If you wait longer than that you may need a tendon graft and/or your range of motion may not be as good, as your tendon will retract further up your arm the longer you wait.
Hope this helps.
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hey mje, just wondering how your arm is doing after all this time?
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On 11/19/07 I ruptured my distal bicep and forearm tendon. After an MRI and surgical consult, they felt that surgery is not the best way to go. Because they feel that I still have a good portion of my tendon holding the rest of the bicep in place. Two Orthopedic's surgeons agreed on this. I on the other hand am not comfortable with this response. Not that I want surgery but I am an avid weight lifter and a SWAT Supervisor. My job has high demands, (Rappellling, Fast Roping, Handling heavy equipment. etc...).

Do any of you agree with this course of action. The surgeons said that to operate means a high risk having to cut through healthy tissue and that they could not gaurantee that the Tendon would be healthier after the surgey.

I am confused. Everything that I have read says that if you want full function of the arm that surgery is the way to go. The surgeons feel that it's better to get full functionality from the arm and that I just lift lighter weights.

Any suggestions or comments would be great. My time is short.
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I seperated my right tendon and bicep from my shoulder in march. It's a workmans comp and they didn't want to fix the problem. They said I'm to old 59. When I finally was able to get another opinion. The Dr said if we could have operated in the first couple weeks I could have fixed it. To much time has passed now. The problem I really have is dealing with the cramping of the torn bicep in my uper arm that is unberable. I can't work out to build up whats left in my arm to get on with my life. Thanks buzzy48
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This is for rkramer807. I had an injury two months ago doing biceps curls and MRI showed a partial tear. Same thing: Ortho surgeon said don't operate, second surgeon said the same and so did sports medicine guy. My arm now is almost back to normal -- still some pain when I used it, but less every day and strength is coming back big time.  Except for biceps training, I'm back to doing my normal upper body routine, with all the weight I used before, including for bench press, shoulders, triceps, etc.  For biceps i started just recently, light weights,but little by little increasing. Doc says it will be near normal. This is all a hell of a lot better than what I have read about the surgery --- three months of no use at all, muscle atrophy entirely, and up to year of getting it back to where it was, and it still never looks or feels the same.
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I ruptured my right distal bicep tendon 3-07. I had surgery 2 weeks after. My surgeon botched the surgury when he ran the tendon over the medial nerve instead of under it. MAJOR complications. My right hand and arm was pretty much paralized and was EXTREMELY painful. I had a second surgury done a month later to repair the mess. 7 months later I am about 90%, half of my hand is still numb.
Here is the kicker... on 12-25-07 I ruptured the left one lifting a heavy trash can that was buried in the snow. Surgery is scheduled 1-4-07 by a totally different DR.
My point to you Rkramer is if you really dont need the surgury do not take a risk of severe complications. Be careful of how you lift thing from here on out and I bet you will be OK.Good luck to you!
FYI i am 40 years old.
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I had a complete tear of left distal bicep three year ago. Had surgery about three weeks after tear. I would say I am 100% back to normal.  No side effects at all. I am 48 now.
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if my other biceps tendon ruptures I will definitely not have the surgery...my ruptured arm seems fine and i don't notice any difference except when turning a screw driver but thats it...
no big deal..
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First thing I have to say about Biceps Tendon Repair Surgery is find a specialist if you insurance allows it. I had an original surgery done with a general ortho. He used a screw to reattach my Biceps Tendon. I then developed heterotrophic ossification (calcium build up) between the radius and ulna in my upper forearm. This did not allow for me to pronate or supinate my hand. This was not then diagnosed correctly and I went in for a manipulation under anasisia.  After that with x-ray the doctor then seen it was a calcium build up. I then had a follow-up surgery to get rid of the calcium build up only to have it form again. After that I ask for a second opinion doctor a specialist in the field that specialized in such an injury. I went for my consultation and he said in not so many words we will do it our way (the correct way). We will reattach the bicep by drilling a hole in the bone and attaching it with heavy duty sutures. Since this surgery I so far have almost full range of motion and am getting my strength back. It has only been a month in a half since the surgery but I am feeling great now a 100% improvement from the first doctor.
I guess what I can offer from this is find out how the surgeon is going to fix your injury with screws or sutures and the side effects of that surgery. Like developed heterotrophic ossification (calcium build up) between the radius and ulna in my upper forearm. Also find out if you can see a specialist first. After my year in a half bout with this darn thing I wish I would have seen a specialist up front. Also take it easy during rehab and allow for the time to heal. It will come back if done right. Don’t rush yourself and iff you are in Illinois check out University of Chicago.
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So sorry to hear about your ordeal, but couldn't agree more wrt finding a specialist.  I had a complete rt distal biceps tear 2007-11-14, and went to 3 orthos until I found one who specialized in sports injuries of the elbow.  Today is 40-days post-surgery on 2007-12-05, and I'm curling 15# dumbells, 3 x 20 (pre-injury was curling 55# dumbells for 3 sets of 12), w/full range of flexion, extension, supination & pronation.  Can't quite drive screws with a hand-held screwdriver, but am back at carpentry & am hitting golf balls.  Can't recommend enough that if you're someone with this injury, get it fixed quickly, but find a specialist who does this surgery several times per week.
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I suffered a biceps injury about 3-4 months ago while doing curls.  It has progressively gotten worse to where I think I have suffered a distal biceps rupture.  

I basically put this injury in the back of my mind hoping that it would heal on its own and the pain would go away- I was suffering from other health issues which included surgery and have been trying to pay off those medical bills.  

I have an appt. with a orthopedic today.  If torn or ruptured, I am wondering if it's too late for surgery.  
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I had a partial Distal Biceps tear about one year ago. I did not know what happened at the time and I regained my strength. Also, there was no biceps deformity. However, about 4 weeks ago after shoveling snow, my arm began to hurt and I noticed a gap between my elbow and biceps. I saw an orthapedic surgeon today and he said it was completely torn, but it was too late to do surgery. Is this true? I've read about using an achilles tendon to re-attach chronic tears. How do I find a good surgeon in the Denver area that would do this?
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I  tore a tendon in my shoulder 6 weeks ago.It is described as a full thickness tear 11 x 15mm.  I have full use of all arm movements. I had a Coritsone Injection but I am still experiencing pain and discomfort. Would surgery help or is it needed ?Or will it eventually heal itself ?
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Go too Hand Surgery Associates in Denver Co ,  see Doc In Sok Yi M.D
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Injured distal biceps tendon May 17 07, Surgery performed Dec. 19. 07. It is now May 4 08. Still have pain when using a curling motion and when turning wrist/palm over. Dr. has given me cortizone shot but pain returns after a few days. Isthis normal or should I seek out another Dr.
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When ya'll tore your distal were you unable to bend your arm all the way down to your sides?
I was lifting in a gym and a friend of mine was trying to teach me a new curling method (albeit a very incorrect motion that most likely cause this). I didn't notice any pain for the rest of the day just the normal stiffness my arms get after lifting. The followning days I have not been able to even move my arm to all the way down by my side. Is this just a bicep strain, a tendon strain, or a full on distal tendon rupture?
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Yes my elbow hurt when in extention and especially with weight in my hand.  It also hurt when I tried to turn my hand over.  Suggest you see an ortho who specializes in injuries to the elbow, not a general ortho.  Also suggest you see one as soon as possible as most of the research I have seen suggests that a torn distal biceps should be addressed within two weeks of the injury.  Failure to promptly address this injury can cause  other problems within the joint that can cause complication to the surgery and your recovery. Good luck.
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I tore my distal at the elbow Jan. 08 . finally went to the orthopedic in
May08.  Had surgery first of June . Dr. said I was not the normal
patient for waiting so long. He was able to reattach my tendon and ,
7weeks after surgery , having alot of pain in my wrist and hand ,.
Go to the Dr. tomorrow.

Has anybody had any problems with their hand hurting?
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just tore my distal tendon 7-30-08 in left arm saw ortho today 8-5-08 just wondering will this benefit me to to have this repaired. it was work related and i am consulting another orthoped i also lift weights occasionally fyi im 45
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Former carpenter, the strong guy on the job, and I tore my bicep at the elbow lifting a 25lb box at home in the garage a week ago (had the big dent in my arm below bicep. I went to ER asap to have it verified, I am going to have it repaired surgically next week. I also tore my leg acl/ mcl last year doing yard work, and had an ankle reconstruction last December, I am wondering if i have some kind of degenerative tendon disease, or the worst luck in the world? I also am 40 and former weight lifter.
bigdumguy
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Hi,

How are you?
Yes scarring can occur in 5 weeks time. The treatment of biceps tendon rupture is still a matter of debate and non surgical conservative treatment has been shown to produce good results.
You can opt for an MRI just to put your mind to rest. Take care!
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       I tore my bicep the last of april. Orthapedic doctor says that he sees two of these injuries a week and tells everyone he can reattach it but it will not regain strength. My general practioner (regular doctor) says there is nothing that can be done this late. Where i was sent doesn't even do the operation any more (they used to) The muscle bulge I have is low, having detached from above the elbow. my forearm actually hurts more than the bicep. I have had no MRI even though I asked for one. I have strength in the arm but bnot like I had. Reading the comment above I am wondering what you think? Is it too late to explore surgery? Where should I go (I live in Johnson City Tennessee) How do you deal with the insurance since it is a second opinion.
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had tendon re attached near elbow 3 weeks ago ,second cast coming off this week and then a splint will be attached, i am a bricklayer and my hand will close to a grip but i cant open up my hand or bend it back  mark in ireland
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I tore my distal bicep tendon completely and had no idea at the the time that it would require surgery. After finding this out I made appointments with several doctors and I highly advise this. I was very pleased to find a doctor that reassured me that I would be 100% within 6 months, and with out heterotrophic ossification, also without hindering the medial nerve. He performed a Modified Two Incision. He drilled a hole in the bone and used suture anchors. It has been 31 days today since the surgery and it seems to be doing well. I do have good movement and can lift very light weight; a glass of water, ect. One question that I have is, how long was it before anyone of you started physical therapy? I believe my doc said 7 weeks. Didn't know if that was the norm? I just feel like the muscle should be firing more.
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Frank -- Seven weeks is not an abnormal length of time to wait before starting physical therapy, though many people start sooner.  I spent 5 weeks in a full cast and then started physical therapy at 6 weeks post-op.  My doctor gave me the ok to start lifting weights again at 8 weeks post-op.  Now, at 24 weeks post-op, I'm around 90% strength on most exercises, except for biceps curls, shrugs, and pull-ups, on which I'm ~75% or so.  I should also mention that I'm 39 years old (38 at time of injury).  Whether or not you are 100% at 6 months depends on how active and strong you were prior to the injury.  Resist the temptation to rush things.

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           Two weeks ago, I was working out in the gym and felt a very sharp pain on my buceps while doing som seated bicep curls. I heard no popping of tendon and my arm isn't bruising, but I have been feeling this minute pain on my biceps every once in a while. I've been out on the gym for two weeks. Could this be a partial tear?
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Thank you so much for writing in response to my post. You more than anyone I have spoke to has given me useful information. My bicep injury has improved. The muscle has "balled up" so that it looks like I am constantly flexing a muscle that is in reality detached. I am slowly strengthening the muscle lifting a 3 pound weight. I can lift more with the arm when I need to I just shouldn't extend the arm fully or it will hurt .I rarely have pain or discomfort with usual lifting. I know I am very much past the time when surgery was an option, at least not locally. Understanding that there is a debate as to how to treat these injuries explains a lot. From what I read here, some can preform the operation well, some can't. Having the operation done wrong seems to be worse than not having it done. I am hesitant to play softball again since this is how I got hurt in the first place. I probibly will play I will just be a lot more careful Again many thanks :)
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i had  distal bicep tear , it was confirmed today not sure , how bad getting mri jan , have the popye bulg looks bad weight lifter , feel all the work i did down drain , pretty depressed , if i have surgrey will the bicep again look normal and will i be able to workout  eventually like i did before ..also play  baseball will i be able to throw a ball and have the same velocity
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Do not despair, I was 40 two years ago when this happened 2 weeks prior to opening of summer baseball season (MSBL).  To that point I was up to 215 solid and lifting personal bests on majority of lifts.  A freak playground mishap left me with a full distal tear.  Being a typical vain weightlifter (20 yrs) I could not leave my body disfigured.  Mentally more difficult than the actual physical pain it took a full year to get back to the same poundages as pre-injury but it was the best decision I made.  Sidenote: Now it appears the tendon is stronger than before, i can still throw if not harder than before.  Just my .02
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wow thanks for your comments , it makes me have hope , iam 45 also play msbl i was working out hard to get ready for the baseball season so i could compete with the young ones , I also have been working out for 17 years and vain like u lol not really into the heavy weights anymore but look much younger then my age and shape like a 30 year old anyway i know i can do cardio so i do not gain 40 pounds while not working out on the weights very tough to get back to the gym being in the dumps i will try tomorrow
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The surgery will be scheduled soon, still might have some time to be ready for fall ball.  Look at it as a challenge, and a year later you will be amazed that muscle memory actually works pretty quickly.  If you are still active you wont be sorry. Good luck , it will be a tough road but it will build character.
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Hi - I was diagnosed yesterday with a full distal bicep tear of my right (dominant) arm. My accident (botched pull-up) was 7 weeks ago, I didn't know what had happened, so decided to just rehab it myself. I started lifting again 5 weeks ago. My arm feels great, and strength is back up to 66%. Supination is pretty good, I can us a screwdriver just fine. I even did a single pull-up the other day. Except when doing biceps in the gym I don't even feel like I"m injured.

Now my MD is recommending 2 incision surgery, but I'm not sure surgery is right for me. It looks like most surgery patient take a year to get back where I am now. And the side effects - I do a lot of fine work with my right hand, and cannot afford to loose use of it due to nerve damage.

There's a lot of good info on brj's the tendonsurgeryinfo.com site (I found it last night by Googling), however it's mostly folks who got surgery. I've yet to hear from any long term (+1 year) non-surgery patients. Anyone like that here?

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hello to all this is my first post .approx 9 wks aggo i ruptured  my distral bicep tendon i went straight to the hospital to be told that i had just pulled a muscle it wasn't till i went to my doctor and stressed that i thought it was a rupture he sent me for an ultra sound. I have now had the the scan and it confirmed the rupture. the surgian has agreed that an operation is the best treatment as i have a manual job and the arm keeps brusing when doing my work.my op is on 23/01/09 i will try and keep update
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I ruptured my distal bicep tendon early in January and had surgery on Feb 4  2009. I opted for a tenodesis with the brachialis tendon because I could not risk any nerve damage and I could not afford to be in a cast for 3-4 weeks due to my work. I am 47 years old and I am a veterinarian, and in no way can I risk any loss of hand/ finger function. I am 2 weeks post-op and feel great! I am only in a sling and am using the arm as tolerated in daily routines without lifting anything heavy or overdoing it. I am also a weight lifter and my Doc thought I had good supination strength post-injury and I agreed. Now,  post-op; my bicep is no longer bunched up, the atrophy so far is minimal, the recovery is far easier, and this procedure can restore the same flexion strength as the 2 incision tecnique to re-attach to the radius - but without the unececessary risk of nerve damage which can happen with even the best of surgeons. In fact, 50% of those who have had this tenodesis procedure have had return of supination strength as well. I will wait 4 more weeks or so to begin lifting light weights for my biceps, but I am actually, and carefully, doing a few machine exercises now for shoulder and triceps on my operated arm - making sure that my biceps stays relaxed.  
I would encourage anybody with a distal biceps rupture to inquire about this much safer alternative procedure which can sucessfully restore full flexion power and give a good cosmetic result as well!
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I just wanted to share my left distal biceps tendon tear story in the hope that it might help someone. In November 2006 I completely ruptured the bicep tendon on my left arm while playing a game of football with my friends.

I was 24 at the time and was pretty athletic so I could tell that something was wrong because my forearm felt like someone had punched it and that feeling wouldn't go away. In addition, My bicep looked like it was flexed at all times (which turned out to obviously be the bicep muscle rolled up halfway up my arm). I tried shaking my wrist back and forth and normally that would cause one's bicep to flex and when mine didn't flex, I knew my muscle was torn.

If you want to read the journal articles and studies about different ways to fix your bicep then type in "distal bicep tendon rupture journal article" or something similar into google or yahoo. I did and it helped to me to choose the type of bicep tendon surgery that I thought would be best for me in terms of post-surgical risks and benefits.

I wasn't willing to mess around with potentially losing a large amount of function of my left arm so I went straight to a "sports medicine orthopedic specialist" two days after my Saturday accident and chose who I believe may be Stanford University football team's orthopedic surgeon "Dr. Timothy McAdams".  

McAdams was clearly a busy man so I hardly got any time to talk with him before the surgery (maybe 10 minutes in total face time...tops...and 0 minutes after the surgery) but he was so busy probably because he does such amazing work.

The surgery was scheduled approximately five days or six days after my injury if I remember correctly. As the journal articles have shown, how quickly you get the surgery done following the injury is an important factor in how successful the surgery may be.

It is now almost three years since my surgery with the "one incision technique" and I would say that overall I am very satisfied with the surgery. I specifically asked to not have the "two incision technique".

The bicep muscle is attached to my arm with screws although the muscle is a little deformed looking from certain angles.

I still go to the gym quite often and I would say that strength in repaired bicep is around 90% of the strength in my non-surgically repaired arm. I do get a lot of inflammation and recurring low-level irritation in my elbow if I do something like carry my 40 lb suitcase up to my sixth floor apartment and there is some minor range of motion issues with my arm but by and large everything works well at this point in time.

Everyone's situation is different but I just wanted to share the story of my distal biceps tendon tear. I am extremely happy that I opted to have my biceps repaired but I was also very young at the time of my injury and recognized the injury extremely fast which may have contributed to the success of my recovery.

Although it ended up costing me something like another $1000 over six or so weeks, I also made sure to go to a physical therapist who had worked with patients who had my injury. The first day of physical therapy (approximately 2 weeks after my surgery if I remember correctly), the physical therapist spent 30 minutes just trying to straighten my arm out and break up the scar tissue in it. Pretty wild stuff and I could hear and feel the scar tissue...snapping (for lacking of a better word). In my non-medically informed opinion, I believe seeing the physical therapist was another very important aspect in regaining range of motion and strength in my left bicep and arm.

I guess that's everything. The surgery was damn expensive for me without insurance but you only live once and the functioning of one's arm is sort of important.

For disclaimer purposes, I should mention that I am absolutely not a doctor so do not take anything in my story as medical advice or as a recommendation.
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Has anyone out there had a partial tear repaired?  The orthos I've seen say I'm an unusual case.  In fact, to repair they would have to complete the tear and then reattach.
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Hello!
You should go for conservative approach and try to heal the partial tear with physiotherapy.
If conservative approach fails:  then surgery is an option, always take a second opinion before surgery. Always ask the surgeon to explain the pros and cons in detail before going ahead.
Take care!
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On 4/24/2010 after doing 50 pullups over a period of 30 mins I was removing a pole from a ski boat pulling with my right arm. I heard a pop @ my distal bicep. The pain was very mild and did not last more that a day. Ihad swelling and brusing on my right arm but full rotational use altho I was limited with what I could lift. I had a self imposed rehab where I lifting nothing for two weeks.
Now I am back doing pull ups and curls to build strengh in the right arm.
The bicep is somewhat distored in the under tension location. I have no pain or movement issues.
1. Will the strg in the bicep return as before ?
2. Is surgury an option.
Doug  in Mullins SC
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello!

You have no pain and movement issues after 2 weeks of rest; now with physiotherapy the strength of the biceps muscle should return.

Take an opinion near an orthopedician if you have any complications and keep surgery as the last option.

Take care!
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Avatar_m_tn
If you can see deformation and bruising in the area of your biceps, then you probably have fully ruptured the distal biceps tendon.  If this is the case, then your biceps WILL NOT RECOVER, as it is no longer attached to anything at its distal end.  You NEED to talk to an orthopedic surgeon ASAP if you want to regain full strength in your arm.  Supination strength in particular can be severely affected by this injury.  It is not uncommon to feel little pain within a few days of injury.

In the case of a full rupture, surgery typically is done within a few weeks of injury.  Otherwise the tendon eventually retracts, which can make reattachment at the radial tuberosity impossible without use of a graft.

I'm two years post-op and have no regrets about the surgery.

Brian
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Torn my biceps at the shoulder,doctor said not to bother.Oh well old age is a bummer.

Could the other tendon left torn as well on the same arm ?
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I  had a complete distal bicep rupture, I had surgery. Still got a little paid in forearm area. My wrist gets sore at times since. Also my shoulder. How long before all is gone, anyone??
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Had the surgery and it was originally fine
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Hawaiianhost - What age and how did you rupture your distal biceps tendon
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I had a partial tear to my dominant arm distal bicep tendon.  Diagnosis was missed until the third doctor, which was three weeks post-injury.  Strength actually was pretty close to normal at that time so long as I was not doing motions that really isolate the bicep.  Things like turning a screw driver or curling a weight with the palm up had very reduced strength still after 3 or 4 weeks.  That was with the arm extended, if I had the arm bent at about 90 degrees I still had pretty good strength.  I didn't have much of a different appearance in the arm since it was partial, but I could tell that I already had some atrophy because part of the bicep couldn't really contract normally.  I could play golf near normally before surgery but I do some long drive competitions so dialing back on the power still allowed for golfing without any issues.  The day before surgery I gave it a pretty good swing and there was definitely noticeable discomfort and I wouldn't have wanted to do any kind of long driving without the repair.  Because of my job [police] I elected for the surgery since the recovery without was progressing very slowly and doctor said it wasn't going to ever be back to normal because of the injury.  A 30 -40% strength loss in supination/pronation was too much to accept.   As I write this I am 5 weeks post-op and getting brace off next week.  Never had a bit of pain from the surgery.  Had full feeling in the arm once the nerve block wore off.  I won't recommend having surgery or not having surgery.  Yes, there can be complications, but generally the surgery and recovery are very succesful, particularly if it is done soon after injury.  Mine was done 5 weeks post injury and since it was a partial tear, there was no scarring issues or need of a grafted tendon.  The physics are what they are, your arm will not have normal strength in all aspects if you have a tear, regardless of rehab and healing.  Some people can accept a certain level of disfunction, fatigue, and strength loss, but athletic types probably will be better served getting surgery.  Make your decision based on what you learn and believe is best.  The tendonsurgeryinfo.com website has lots of info on this injury, mostly people that have had the surgery, some who elected not to.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a partial tear of my distal bicep tendon several months ago.  At the time of the injury , I went to the doctor where they took an x-ray.  They sent me home with an ice pack telling me that it was probably a muscular tear and that it would repair itself after a while.  Thinking that was the case I worked trhrough the pain and weakness.  A client of mine, a radiologist, highly sugested that I have an MRI and diagnosed the partial tear. I'm looking at having surgery but i need to find someone in the Houston area that will perform a surgery for an injury that is more than a few weeks old. My arm is very important to me (not that it wouldn't be to everyone else) but It's how I make my living.  I'm an ornamental blacksmith and I'm constantly lifting very heavy things and hammering for hours at a time.
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2 weeks ago I felt and heard the snap, and knew something serious had happened.  I had an xray the next day, hospital nurse said bone was fine and it's just a sprain.  A couple days later (after googling and forum reading) I went to the doctors.  He said a sprain too...even though my inner elbow was looking "odd" but I didn't have the popeye bulge.  He said give things a couple of weeks.  Instead, I waited out 2 days and started phoning around private surgeons/ consultants.  As anyone reading this forum knows, after a tendon rupture you have a 2 week window before tendon graphs are required for surgery.  Anyway, I finally saw someone who knew what they were talking about and had an ultrasound... Much cheaper than MRI and you can move your arm around so they can see more.  Tear confirmed.  I had a full distal tendon bicep repair 2 days ago.  I'm in a cast, but my surgeon wants that to come off after 5 days and for me to start moving my elbow.  He's recognised in the uk as one of the leaders in this area and writes medical papers on the subject... So I trust him!  It hurts, it's not fun writing this with my left hand, but I feel good that I did something about it and, with luck, on the road to a full recovery.  By the way, he said I didn't get the popeye effect because my tendon had caught on something so didn't retract fully, but it was fully detached.
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I too had a near to complete tear of the distal bicep tendon in 2010 doing a routine judo throw.  My doctor kept telling me it was tendinitis even though I heard it snap and felt like someone jammed a knife in my arm.  Unfortunately for me it took >2months for managed care to get me into an ortho for a consult and an MRI.  I think I am lucky because I don't feel a great deal of difference except I get soreness easier and an occasional ping of pain.  I still workout but not to the extent I used too.  My doctor at the time did not recommend surgery due to time lapse and quick gains in recovery.   I'm not sure if i would have benefited from surgery or not but I guess its a mute point now.  
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Do you know how bad a partial tear has to be in order to get surgery? I have had a partially torn bicep now for literally over about 2 months, if not a couple weeks longer....i went to the doctors after 2 weeks of lifting pain and just plain pain in bicep, and he said it could STILL take up to an additional  6 weeks...it's been 6 weeks and it still hurts a TON after for example holding a 15 pound baby, hurts on its own still, and hurts to put really any pressure on it...like i def can't do pushups or leaning on my arm......do you remember anything that the doctor said about when to get a partially torn bicep repaired surgically, or when to just let it heal on its own??? Thanks!
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Enough about life AFTER surgery!  Can anyone answer the question:

WHEN IS IT TOO LATE TO HAVE SURGERY - Time wise in months...weeks, etc.  

Please.  Does anyone have an answer?  
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15 days max, then it scars in place. I had mine repiared at the 15th day. You need to have it looked at the day you hurt it, then it starts with Xrays, MRI's, Pre surgery testing, all this takes around a week to see all these docs, and flip flop paperwork around, and stuff to be aproved, exp if workmans comp like mine,lol. So ASAP is the answer your looking for, max 15 days till surgery,
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Avatar_f_tn
Guys i hurt my triceps months ago im only 13 n i continued doing pull-ups it doesnt really hurt that much n i hear my muscle vein break* a few weeks back n started to get scared. do my triceps heal/scar by itself or it permanent pls reply im terrified
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HEY I TORE MY LEFT DISTAL BICEP 8 DAYS AGO AND WAS IN THE THE OPERATING ROOM AND WALKED OUT BECAUSE THE NURSE COULDNT GET THE IV IN 2 TIMES AND WAS WALKING UP MY GOOD ARM WITH THE NEEDLE I AM 50 YEARS OLD AND AFTER A WEEK IT FEELS BETTER EXCEPT FOR A BULGE IN LEFT  LOWER BICEP AND BRUISE FROM THEIR DOWN MY FOREARM MID WAY.IAM RETIRED USARMY AND I WILL TAKE MY CHANCES AND REHAB MY SELF IT HAS TO BE BETTER THAN SURGURY AND REHAB THANKS JOHN
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I'm 45 I completely ruptrured my right distal tendon TWO YEARS AGO--I just had surgery two weeks ago---so far I am still in a half cast and a sling.
I waited so long because 2 docs told me I would still have 80% functiobality etc....they were wrong, It was not getting better, it was getting worse, it was swell and bruise if I did anything at all so I had to try surgery---we will soon see how effective it was after 2 years....
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I tore my right distal biceps tendon 4 years ago due to improper form while bowling with my son.  Amazingly, I was on the golf course playing the next day with no impairment.  I briefly considered seeing a doctor, but when use of the arm continued without more than minor difficulties, I never saw a doctore for it.  I too have noticed a difference in the shape of the biceps.  The only problem I have with it is when bending the arm and lifting anything fairly heavy at the same time, it tends to cramp with me.  As for the golf, I am now 60 and have shot the two lowest scores of my life within the last year.  I guess that puts me on the side of those suggesting the self-repair capabilities of the body.
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Thanks for the comment. You are he first person I found that has not had the surgery done and you give me some confidence that I may have made the correct decision. I ruptured both of my distal bicep tendons at the same time and did not notice any significant loss in strength. I was told I would suffer permanent weakness during supination will occur if this tendon is not surgically repaired. I am a Tool and Die maker and have noticed very little
loss in suprination strength or loss of motion.
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I'm from the UK as well and I'm 99.9% sure I tore my distal bicep last Friday in the gym. I'm seeing an orthopedic doctor on Friday. If I do need surgery, who is this surgeon who is suppose to be the best in the UK? Could you please give me his name and contact details. Thanks, Julio.
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I tore the tendon in March while skiing. Thought I was 100% July but in August something happened & it's back. Had the MRI done, (now October)  Dr said partial @ elbow but in all actuality he said its probably strands holding it. Reccomends surgery through the bone to reattach. I'm 45 and want to be 100% as well as afraid to have a failing limb in my elder years.  Didn't even think about shoveling till I read it above. Afraid of gaining the weight I lost over recent months... Advice?
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