What Are the Different Types of Bicep Surgery?

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  • Written By: Helen Akers
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Bicep surgery is usually performed to repair tears that occur along the joints of the elbow or shoulder. The tears typically occur in the bicep tendon and can be full or partial. Surgical procedures might include the use of stitches or the use of implants. Plastic bicep surgery involves the use of implants to enhance the appearance of the muscle or help repair a torn tendon.

Symptoms of torn bicep tendons include piercing pain and muscle weakness. Some candidates for bicep surgery report the sound of a pop or snap in the arm. Additional symptoms include a visible bump or bulge in the area and difficulty in moving the arm. Usually a doctor will perform an exam and order x-rays to examine the extent of the damage.

Individuals may need to undergo bicep surgery as a result of injury from intense physical exercise. Sometimes the bicep tendon muscles tear at the shoulder. For complete tears, a procedure called tenodesis is performed to reattach the muscle to the shoulder's socket. During this type of bicep surgery, holes may need to be drilled in the shoulder's bone and stitches or a screw is used to reattach the torn tendon.


Partial tears of the tendon at the shoulder may require a less extensive procedure. Repairing the bicep may just involve removing the torn part of the muscle. The procedure might also involve trimming portions of the torn tendon to allow for natural healing and re-growth. If the damage is extensive enough, metal implants may need to be used.

Bicep tendons can also tear at the elbow. The bicep surgery procedures used in these instances are similar to the techniques used for tendon tears at the shoulder. Anthroscopic surgery, which is a less intrusive procedure involving smaller surface cuts and microscopic instruments, can help re-attach torn tendons to joint sockets. In addition to stitches or staples, smaller metal implants might be used to help re-attach torn muscles.

Some individuals wish to enhance the appearance and size of their bicep muscles. Plastic surgery for this purpose usually involves the use of silicone implants. The surgery can be used to give the illusion of increased muscle mass or improve the tone of the muscle.

Physical therapy is usually used in conjunction with bicep surgery. The therapy is designed to help the muscles regain as much function as possible and adjust to the implants or surgical modifications. Therapy usually begins with light exercises, followed by more intense repetitions that focus on toning and strengthening the muscles.


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