Pectoralis Major Tendon Repair

What is the pectoralis major tendon?

The pectoralis major muscle is the large muscle just in front of the chest wall. It works to push the arms in the front of the body, such as in a bench press maneuver. The muscle ruptures when the tendon that attaches to the bone pulls off.

How do you repair the pectoralis major tendon?

The pectoralis major tendon will be repaired through an incision at the front of your shoulder. Strong sutures will be woven through the end of the tendon and then tied down to the humerus.

Length of Stay

You may stay overnight after this 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 have an incision extending up from the crease of your underarm.


You will have pain medication prescribed for when you are discharged home.


Your arm will be placed in a sling prior to leaving the operating room. You are to remain in your sling 24 hours a day except to bathe. This includes sleeping in your sling. For the six weeks that you are in your sling, you are not permitted to drive.


You will go home with tape and gauze dressings. After 2 days you may remove the dressings. There will be steri strips over the incisions. The steri strips are to remain in place until they fall off on their own. You may see some blue sutures (stitches) sticking out of the incision. The sutures will be removed at your first postoperative visit 10-14 days after your surgery.

Physical Therapy

For the first six weeks of recovery you will do very gentle stretching at home. The physical therapist will show you the exercises after the first post-operative visit. The second 6 weeks of recovery you will go to formal physical therapy and continue with a home exercise program.


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

Day of surgery to 6 weeks: remain in sling, no use of arm, out of work, no driving
Months 1.5-3: no lifting and carrying anything greater than 10 lbs