Re-rupture rate of primarily repaired distal biceps tendon injuries

John W. Hinchey, Jessica G. Aronowitz, Joaquin Sanchez-Sotelo, Bernard F. Morrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Background: Distal biceps tendon rupture is a common injury, and primary repair results in excellent return of function and strength. Complications resulting from distal biceps tendon repairs are well reported, but the incidence of re-ruptures has never been investigated. Methods: A search of the Mayo Clinic's Medical/Surgical Index was performed, and all distal biceps tendon repairs from January 1981 through May 2009 were identified. All patients who completed 12 months or more of follow-up were included. All charts were reviewed and patients contacted as necessary to identify a re-rupture. We also investigated the situation causing the re-rupture. Results: We identified a total of 190 distal biceps tendon ruptures that underwent repair and met our inclusion and exclusion criteria. Of the 190 repairs, 172 (90.5%) were performed by the Mayo modification of the Boyd-Anderson 2-incision technique. Bilateral ruptures occurred in 13 patients (7.3%). Six primary ruptures (3.2%) occurred in women, 4 of the 6 being partial ruptures. Partial ruptures were found to be statistically more common than complete ruptures in women (P = .05). We identified 3 re-ruptures (1.5%), all occurring within 3 weeks of the index surgery. Conclusion: The re-rupture rate after primary repair of the distal biceps tendon is low at 1.5% and occurs within 3 weeks of index repair. This appears to be due to patient compliance and excessive force placed on repairs. We also found the incidence of women who sustain a distal biceps tendon tear to be 3.2%, with partial tears being statistically more common than complete ruptures. Level of evidence: Level IV, Case Series, Treatment Study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)850-854
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biceps
  • Biceps failure
  • Distal biceps
  • Re-rupture
  • Repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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