A distal biceps tear usually happens to men in their 50s or 60s. The biceps tendon usually tears with a heavy lift, or when lowering something to the ground. Some people describe the sensation as being hit in the arm, a “pop”, or like being shot in the arm. Often there is immediate deformity, but not always.
Most people choose to have surgery to repair their biceps, but if several months have passed, the tendon can become scarred and impossible to repair. In these cases, a graft can be used. A graft is a tendon from a cadaver that has been specially prepared. In the photos below, I repair a tendon that was torn 12 weeks prior to surgery. The tendon was shortened and retracted and scarred, and could not be repaired, so a graft was used to reconstruct the torn tendon.
|The tendon is seen. It is too short and scarred to repair.|
|Here a graft has been sewn to the stump of the tendon. The graft provides the length needed to repair the tendon back to the bone.|
|A hole has been drilled in the bone to accept the tendon graft.|
|The new tendon can easily be brought to the hole without any tension. This ensures the tendon graft will not tear when used.|
|Here the tendon repair has been completed. The graft is “docked” into the hole in the bone.|