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Repairs of the Biceps and Triceps Tendons

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Repair of the biceps and triceps tendons is surgery to repair a torn biceps or triceps tendon in your upper arm. Tendons connect muscles to bones and help your limbs move. A partial or full tear usually happens after an injury.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During surgery:

  • In a biceps repair, an incision will be made over the front of the elbow. Another incision may be made on the back of the elbow. Your surgeon will attach the tendon to the bone with screws or other hardware. In a triceps tendons repair, an incision will be made on the back of the elbow. Holes will be drilled in the end of the forearm bone near your elbow. The ends of the tendon will be inserted through the holes and tied with stitches.
  • A piece of tendon or tissue from another part of your body may be needed. This is done to make the shortened tendon longer so it reaches the bone where it will be attached. The incisions will then be closed with stitches or medical tape and covered with bandages. A cast or splint will be placed on the elbow. This will protect the tendon and keep it from moving while it heals.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.

  • A cast or splint will be placed on your arm. This will protect the tendon and keep it from moving while it heals.
  • A physical therapist will teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
  • Medicines may be given to relieve pain or nausea, or to prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

RISKS:

You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. Your blood vessels, nerves, or muscles may be damaged. Your arm, forearm, hand, or fingers may become stiff, numb, and weak. Your arm movement may not go back to the way it was before surgery.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Repairs of the Biceps and Triceps Tendons (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

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