The biceps muscle and tendon unit is responsible for elbow flexion and supination (a type of rotation). The biceps muscle is located in the upper arm. There are two tendons that attach to the biceps muscle, the long head and the short head. The long head of the biceps tendon originates from the glenoid bone and labrum inside the shoulder joint. This part of the biceps is very susceptible to inflammation (tendinitis) and partial tearing. When the tendon is torn or is inflamed, it can lead to pain with certain overhead and lifting activities.
In those patients who require surgery, Dr. Welch may perform a biceps tenodesis. During this procedure, Dr. Welch uses a minimally-invasive approach and releases the damaged long head of the biceps tendon from its insertion point inside the shoulder. Next, Dr. Welch makes a small incision in the armpit and pulls the released biceps tendon through the incision. Dr. Welch then uses a strong device to attach the tendon to the humerus bone well below the shoulder joint. Dr. Welch tensions the tendon appropriately prior to securing it to the bone. Multiple clinical studies have demonstrated that a biceps tenodesis usually relieves pain in those patients with biceps tearing, tendonitis, or with SLAP tears.
Following surgery, patients are given a sling for comfort. Dr. Welch recommends intermittent icing and gentle range of motion following surgery. Dr. Welch also recommends starting physical therapy approximately two weeks after surgery. Physical therapy focuses on reducing swelling in the shoulder, restoring full range of motion, and maintaining strength in the shoulder.