Distal Biceps Tendon Repair

What is the distal bicep tendon?

The bicep muscle attaches to the radial tuberosity, which is a small bump on the side of one of the two bones of the forearm (the radius) near the elbow joint. The biceps muscle bends the elbow bringing the hand toward the body. The muscle also helps to twist the forearm, turning the palm up.

How do you repair the distal biceps tendon?

The distal biceps will be repaired through one incision around your elbow. Strong sutures will be woven through the end of the tendon and then tied down to the radius.

Length of Stay

You will usually go home the same day as your surgery. You will need to have someone to drive you home after you have been discharged.


Patients usually have two types of anesthesia for this surgery. The first is general anesthesia, which means you are asleep. The second type of anesthesia is a nerve block. Your arm will be numb and will feel very strange. The nerve block will last about 12-14 hours. The anesthesiologist will speak to you on the day of surgery. The ultimate choice of anesthesia technique is up to you and your anesthesiologist.


You will usually have 1 incision with this surgery right around the bend of your elbow. Sometimes a second incision is placed above your elbow to help in the repair


You will usually have 2 types of pain medication prescribed for when you are discharged home.


Your arm will be placed in a splint prior to leaving the operating room. You are to remain in your splint 24 hours a day. This includes sleeping. It will be removed at the first postoperative visit. You may cover the splint with a plastic trash bag to keep them dry while showering.

Physical Therapy

For the first six weeks of recovery, you will do very gentle stretching at home. The second 6 weeks of recovery you will go to formal physical therapy and continue with a home exercise program.


Recovery from a distal biceps tendon repair is three months. During that time you will have restrictions on the use of your operative arm.

Day of surgery to 2 weeks: remain in splint at all times
Weeks 2-6: if brace is prescribed, remain in brace, no driving, no lifting anything in the operative arm
Months 1.5-3: no lifting and carrying anything greater than 5 lbs