Author Topic: Distal Bicep Tear  (Read 1376 times)

Offline metroBC

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Distal Bicep Tear
« on: August 23, 2011, 07:55:57 AM »
I'm new here, but have gotten a lot of good advice just reading the old posts.  I injured by right (dominant) distal bicep on August 7, 2011.  I heard a distinct tearing along with severe pain.  No real swelling or bruising and the bicep is not noticeably rolled up.  Visited by doctor the following day, still in severe pain and he said to ice and rest it for 7-10 days.  At 12 days I went to see the Ortho Doc and after 30 seconds of examination, he said I have a high grade tear and will need surgery to repair it.  He also said I could try to rehab it without surgery, but I am a firefighter and will need to have full function, so he recommended repairing it.  I am waiting for the MRI to be scheduled, should be this week to see the real extent of the injury.  I am now about 16 days post injury and still have severe pain, especially in the morning. I am taking Celebrex, so that may be helping the pain somewhat.  The joint is very weak upon flexion and supination.  If any of you experts can read into what I already know and offer some advice, I would appreciate it.  I will update when I get the MRI results.  BTW:  I am 43 years old and in good health with no previous health problems.  Thanks in advance for your advice.

Offline MarkJF

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Re: Distal Bicep Tear
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2011, 09:07:06 AM »
Good luck Metro.

Sooner the better, push people for the MRI and then for surgery, it is a time sensitive injury. I had MRI 2 days post injury, assessment with the surgeon at 9 days and then the op on day 11. Because I was due to fly out on holiday, he cancelled his day off to operate on me as within 14 days post injury he was very confident of there being no complications.

Like you, I had a lot of pain post injury, but if it's any consolation, I've had zero pain/discomfort post op.
  • Repair Method: Suture Anchor
  • Surgeon: Dr Wattens (BRI)
  • Surgery Date: 30-08-11

Offline metroBC

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Re: Distal Bicep Tear
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2011, 09:43:38 AM »
Thanks Mark, Did you have a complete or partial tear?  I am thinking that mine is partial since I do not have the disfigured bicep, but I could be wrong.  I appreciate the info.

Offline MarkJF

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Re: Distal Bicep Tear
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2011, 10:22:06 AM »
I had full tear, retracted 6-8cm, the injury was immediately obvious even though I didn't know what it was..........

I am 49 and my surgeon reckons 90% of his ops have been on guys 40-50.
  • Repair Method: Suture Anchor
  • Surgeon: Dr Wattens (BRI)
  • Surgery Date: 30-08-11

Offline tjtajo

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Re: Distal Bicep Tear
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2011, 03:00:06 PM »
Metro...sorry to hear about your injury.  If your MRI confirms a high grade tear and your doc is recommending surgery I would follow his advice.  Your arm will not be 100% without the surgery.  Without surgery it may feel better overtime but it will not heal on its own to be 100%.  With your line of work chances are that it would be just a matter of time before your completely rupture the bicep.    My profession is nothing close to yours and I almost opted to not have surgery after I injured my arm but this forum and some awesome members absolutely changed my mind and I am thrilled that I went through with my surgery (almost 3wks PO now).  So get it done..btw I had my surgery 26 days after my injury and all is well.  I am experiencing zero complications outside or normal healing and strength issues.  The sooner the surgery the better your chances are for a smooth recovery.  Good luck..keep us posted!


TJ
  • Repair Method: Endobutton
  • Surgery Date: 8/5/2011

Offline bitterguy

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Re: Distal Bicep Tear
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2011, 03:50:47 PM »
Your injury symptoms sound just like mine with the tearing sound and pain, but not much noticeable deformity due to it being a partial tear.  My pain subsided significantly within a few days but if I moved it in certain positions it was still very painful.  Due to delayed diagnosis, I had my surgery 5 weeks post injury.  My surgeon said that you do have some additional time with a partial tear [i.e., it is still at least partially connected so it doesn't scar over as quickly] but obviously you still want it done ASAP.  In my fifth week post injury I had worked at rehabbing it just because that is my nature, but supination/pronation never got to within maybe 40 - 50% of normal and the arm would fatigue very quickly.  Long story short, if you are a firefighter you really have to get it done, you will never get back to anywhere near normal without it.  Simple curling of the arm doesn't tax the bicep a ton [the brachiallis does], but the turning action [like turning a screw] of the forearm is the main function of the bicep...that will always be very weak.  Look at it this way, you can not get it and always worry about tearing it all the way... and in 6 months you will have possibly torn it completely or you will have permanent weakness.  Or you can get it fixed and six months from now probably be back to normal.
  • Hospital: Healthpartners Day Surgery Center, St. Paul MN
  • Repair Method: Tenodesis screw/endobutton
  • Surgeon: Dr. Michael D'Matto
  • Surgery Date: 4/28/2011

Offline metroBC

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Re: Distal Bicep Tear
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2011, 05:27:37 AM »
Thanks for all of the advice.  22 days post injury now and still waiting for an MRI appointment.  I guess insurance takes time to get it approved.  I am expecting a call today to get my appointment.  Arm is still very painful, not getting any better.  I will update when I get the diagnosis.  Thanks again.

Offline Otown

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Re: Distal Bicep Tear
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2011, 10:22:29 AM »
I myself was 14 days post injury before i had the surgery. The doc had to make a larger incision and use the help from another doc to pull my tendon back down to the correct position. All went very well. I am on my 14th week now post op and my arm feels great.

Have your doctors office call the MRI center and push to get you in. They know this is a time sensetive injury and needs to be repaired ASAP.

Good luck.
  • Hospital: Sandlake Medical Center
  • Repair Method: Endobutton and screw
  • Surgeon: Davenport
  • Surgery Date: May 20 2011
Good luck with the recovery
Nick

Offline metroBC

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Re: Distal Bicep Tear
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2011, 12:25:07 PM »
Got the MRI results today...total rupture of the distal bicep tendon, but there are a few fibers remaining that are hanging on, thus the reason my bicep did not roll up, but also the reason for the severe pain.  Surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday September 6.  He is using the suture method with only one incision.  The doc assures me that he has had a nearly 100% success rate with this operation.  2 weeks in a brace another 2 weeks in a sling and he says no restrictions (within reason) at 6 weeks.  He did say 6-12 months before I am 100%.  He also said he doesn't think any physical therapy will be necessary.  I'll keep you posted post op.  Thanks again for all the advice.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2011, 12:27:10 PM by metroBC »

Offline metroBC

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Re: Distal Bicep Tear
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 11:57:02 AM »
3 days post op...I am glad that part is over.  I am in a soft cast for a couple of weeks.  It was quite painful for the first couple of days, but it is getting better all the time.  The worst part is I injured my dominant arm, so it is like learning to do everything all over again.  I just can't wait to get this cast off, I feel like I need to stretch this thing out, but I know that would not be smart at this point.  Aside from the swollen fingers, everything seems to be doing ok.  I'll keep updates coming for those that are getting this done in the future.

Offline B_Mance

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Re: Distal Bicep Tear
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 03:39:07 PM »
I injured my dominant arm in April and I had to learn how to write on a chalkboard with my other arm.  It's rough and doesn't feel right, but you'll figure it out.  On the plus side, I've heard that the dominant side heals a little quicker.  Certainly consistent with my experience after rupturing both distal bicep tendons.
  • Hospital: Ohio State
  • Repair Method: endobutton
  • Surgeon: Grant Jones
  • Surgery Date: 4-28-2011