Biceps Tendon Rupture

Rupture of the biceps tendon at the elbow is a traumatic injury that usually occurs when attempting to lift a heavy object. Almost all patients describe a sensation of “popping or tearing” in the front of the elbow area. There is usually not much swelling, but the contour of the biceps muscle is changed. Most patients describe pain in the forearm adjacent to the elbow rather than in the biceps muscle itself. In many cases this is diagnosed on physical exam without having to obtain an MRI scan. Surgery is usually recommended to repair the tendon as this will maximize long term function. The surgery is performed as an outpatient using 2 small incisions around the elbow to reattach the tendon to the bone. Return of function is rapid after repair and most individuals are able to regain about 95% of their original elbow function and power.