Biceps Tenodesis & Tenotomy in Arlington, VA

The bicep tendon can cause discomfort and pain in your shoulder. If this is the case, you could be eligible for biceps tenodesis or tenotomy. The pain is often caused by aging, overuse, wear-and-tear, or a sports injury. The experienced and trusted orthopedic team at OrthoBethesda in Arlington, VA, can provide you with the best orthopedic services. Our specialists are prepared to treat you should you require rotator cuff repair, biceps tenodesis, biceps tenotomy, or any other type of orthopedic procedure.


What is a Biceps Tenotomy or Biceps Tenodesis?

Biceps Tenotomy, known also as a tendon release, and is a common surgical procedure conducted by the OrthoBethesda team in Arlington, Virginia. It is needed when the long head of the biceps tendon that connects to the shoulder socket, or glenoid, is inflamed or experiences strains or tears. During a biceps tenotomy, your surgeon will cut off one tendon and will not reattach it but instead allows it to retract and then attach to the humerus and heal over a few weeks. This tendon release allows for more mobility and a greater range of movement for the patient but can cause some irregularity in the shape of the biceps.

Biceps tenodesis is also performed to repair the tendon that provides a connection between the biceps and the shoulder. Both biceps tenotomy and biceps tenodesis require the biceps tendon to be cut from the cartilage that is located in the glenoid. The big difference between these two common orthopedic procedures is that in biceps tenodesis, the tendon is surgically reattached to the humerus (the bone of the upper arm) instead of being left to heal on its own like occurs in the tenotomy.

Both of these procedures can often be performed at the same time that a surgeon is addressing issues in the rotator cuff, and range of motion and mobility improvements might be even more visible after recovery when all issues related to the upper arm and biceps area are taken care of during one scheduled surgical visit to our Arlington facility.

Common Reasons You May Require Biceps Tenodesis or Tenotomy in your Biceps Tendon

A biceps muscle normally has two heads and two tendons at the top end that join it to the bone. The larger tendon goes through the shoulder blade and outside your shoulder joint. This tendon usually doesn’t cause a lot of issues for most people. However,  the smaller long head goes right through the front of your shoulder and into the top of your socket. This tendon is the trouble maker and is often injured and the cause and subsequent pain. This biceps tendon can also degenerate with age and use and start to cause pain. Tearing or damage of the rotator cuff can also cause subsequent pain as well.

Tenodisis or Tenotomy – which procedure will you need?

Both procedures, biceps tenotomy, and biceps tenodesis, help to relieve pain patients suffer from due to inflammation, a biceps tendon tear, or any type of sports injury. Either one of these procedures can be performed when there is intense pain present in the top of the shoulder or in the biceps tendon. Ultimately, you should go over the benefits and possible drawbacks related to both procedures with one of our trusted and highly recommended orthopedic specialists at our Arlington facility.

The recovery time may be shorter with a tenotomy because the tendon is not reattached surgically – but this also can allow for the bicep muscle to sometimes appear misshapen after healing- this is known as a Popeye deformity and may be unacceptable for some patients if given another option. Healing times are longer with biceps tenodesis but lessens the change of a change in the biceps appearance. Your doctor will talk to you about your lifestyle, your activity level, and how each procedure may or may not be preferable for you.

Shoulder pain can be extremely difficult to live with, especially if you use your arms a lot in your work or if you are active in sports and other physical activities. If the pain is related to your rotator cuff or you need rotator cuff repair, this can be identified during a consultation with our doctors in Arlington. Often a rotator cuff repair can be performed at the same time as a biceps tenotomy or biceps tenodesis – helping get your full mobility back and live without the pain.

Pain in the shoulder or biceps tendon can be incredibly unbearable at night. It can also radiate to other areas of the arm. Patients eligible for these surgeries might also exhibit the following symptoms of biceps tendon injuries:
  • Swelling
  • Tingling
  • Cramping
  • Difficulty moving their arms or shoulders

The Procedure for Biceps Tenotomy and Biceps Tenodesis

If you are facing shoulder surgery because of tendon tears, biceps tears, or a labrum tear; it is important to always speak with an experienced specialist about your injuries. You can regain your strength in the joint and muscle by undergoing shoulder surgery at OrthoBethesda in Arlington. On the day of the surgery, you can expect general anesthesia will be administered to the patient whether they opt to undergo either biceps tenotomy or biceps tenodesis. During the tenotomy, surgeons perform a small tendon release, and then the tendon is left unattached. Tenodesis procedures are more involved and doctors may choose from a couple of different procedures to be successful.

Procedural options when undergoing biceps tenodesis
  • Open Keyhole Procedure: This procedure is considered a soft surgery in which the surgeon divides the tendon by making a keyhole-shaped opening in the patient’s humerus. Once the keyhole is made the surgeon will then roll the end of the biceps to shorten it before stitching it into place.
  • The Pitt Technique: This procedure is considered a soft tissue surgery for the patient. An interlocking suture pattern is created during the surgery. The surgeon then ties the tendon to the shoulder ligament to make the necessary repairs.

Who Should Undergo Biceps Tenotomy or Tenodesis?

Only a qualified orthopedic specialist can determine if anyone is an ideal candidate and if surgery is recommended to treat pain in your shoulder, biceps, rotator cuff, or elsewhere throughout the body. You will be able to find the right doctor for you in our Arlington OrthoBethesda location. Our team will always listen to you and your needs and always ask the right questions to help identify the best treatment plan. If your doctor recommends opting for either of these procedures, tenodesis has proven to be more successful for athletes who require lasting pain relief and more effective use of their shoulders and arms. Either surgical option will likely be most successful when the surgery is performed within three months of suffering an injury to the tendon. The sooner pain is addressed, the sooner it can be relieved. Don’t wait – for residents of Arlington and surrounding areas, OrthoBethesda is a trusted, convenient, and highly recommended choice for care.

What Should You Expect During the Recovery Period?

Following both biceps tenodesis and tenotomy surgeries at OrthoBethesda in Arlington, VA., Tenodesis you will need to wear a sling. This is done to restrain the movement of the arm and the shoulder so that the muscles and tissues can heal. Once the first six weeks after surgery have passed you can begin moving the arm more and more to regain mobility and range of motion. You will also need to work with a qualified physical therapist to strengthen the arm and learn to place more pressure on their hands, arms, and shoulders.

Completely recovering from shoulder surgery of the biceps muscle takes roughly 20 weeks. The actual time to recover from biceps tenotomy and tenodesis will vary based on the following clinical outcomes:

  • The age of the patient
  • The type of rehabilitation program the patient undergoes
  • The overall health of the patient
  • The severity of the injury that led to shoulder pain and subsequent surgery

Call OrthoBethesda Today to Schedule an Appointment with a Surgeon in Arlington

If you have suffered a shoulder injury, rotator cuff injury, or trauma to the biceps tendon, it is important that you seek medical care as soon as possible. The sooner you have the injury repaired, the sooner you can regain mobility, strength, and range of motion. The experienced and trusted team at OrthoBethesda in Arlington, VA, can diagnose your injury and determine the best course of action for making the necessary repairs to your biceps tendon. Whether you undergo biceps tenotomy or tenodesis, our team will ensure that you receive the proper care at all times.

Call our center at (301) 530-1010 to schedule a consultation with a surgeon about your shoulder pain. Biceps tenodesis or biceps tenotomy are two procedures that can relieve shoulder pain and improve your range of motion and mobility so you can get back to enjoying regular activities as soon as possible.