Repair of the distal biceps tendon at the elbow

You have just undergone a distal biceps tendon repair. This is because your distal biceps tendon was torn at the elbow. This tendon usually tears off at the bone insertion (on to the radius bone just below the elbow). 

The following is a picture of normal distal biceps anatomy, as well as a schematic of the repair. 

biceps tendon rupture.jpg
distal biceps repair.jpg
  • Postoperatively your arm will be in a sling. You can start coming out of the sling next day for gentle stretching exercises. The sling should be worn full time otherwise for the first 4 weeks.

  • It is normal to have some tingling or numbness or weakness following your procedure. This is often due to a nerve block performed preoperatively to help with your pain, or with postoperatively injected local anaesthesia. This will wear off in the first day or two.

  • Please keep your dressing/bandage dry at all times. You may use a plastic bag tied above the elbow to prevent the dressing/wound from getting wet during shower/bathing

  • Around 2 weeks following surgery, you should have your wound checked.

Therapy and movement 

  • Starting the day after surgery, It is important you come out of the sling to try to move your elbow. Bend and straighten your elbow all the way or as much as you can. Do this at least 3 occasions every day

  • You should wean out of the sling at around the 4-week mark.

  • You should limit lifting to "cup of tea" weight for the first 3 months, and to 5kg between 3-6 months. 

  • You should regain most of your range of motion by 3 months post-surgery. 

  • No strengthening until after 3 months. 

  • No restrictions to sport after 6 months.