The biceps is a muscle (also referred to as the brachii muscle) that is located on the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow. It is the muscle that is responsible for elbow flexion as well as rotating the forearm.
Two muscle “bellies”, make up the biceps region, these include the long head of the biceps and the short head of the biceps (brachii is a Latin phrase which means two-headed muscle of the arm). The long head of the biceps attaches to the shoulder blade inside the shoulder joint through a tendon. One common injury that can occur to this area is tendonitis. Biceps tendonitis occurs when acute episodes of overuse takes places. It can also develop when chronic micro-damage from repetitive overhead activities take place, or through degenerative changes in the shoulder joint. Tendonitis occurs when the long head of the biceps muscle becomes irritated. Symptoms associated with this condition include pain and tenderness in the front of the upper arm.
Dr. Anz will often try and treat biceps tendonitis through conservative measures first, which usually involves rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and therapy. However, if biceps tendonitis causes extreme pain and disability without response to initial treatment, surgical intervention may be the next best step.
If surgery is required, Dr. Anz will most likely perform a biceps tenodesis which is performed arthroscopically. During this operation, a release of the tendon from its attachment inside the shoulder joint takes place, and it is reattached to the upper arm. The actual release of the tendon is known as a tenotomy. During the arthroscopic approach, Dr. Anz will make small incisions and use tiny instruments including an arthroscopic camera. The tenodesis is performed through a small incision near the front part of the armpit. Patients can have chronic pain in the front of their arm from biceps tendonitis. After this tendon is reattached away from the area of previous pain through tenodesis, most patients will feel great relief.
Dr. Anz will prescribe a full rehabilitation program for each patient following surgery. Each case may be slightly different, but the ultimate goal is to regain strength and range of motion. Depending on the severity of the injury and surgical case, range of motion can usually begin shortly after surgery and a full recovery can be anticipated at approximately 3 months.
For additional resources on injuries associated with the biceps muscle, including biceps tendonitis, or to learn more about the surgical treatments for this injury including a biceps tenodesis, please contact the Gulf Breeze, Florida orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Adam Anz located at the Andrews Institute.