A Weight Off Your Shoulders
Lifting weights is a great way to increase muscle mass, stay healthy, and even increase life expectancy. The very concept of weightlifting involves breaking down and regrowing muscles, which can lead to injury. Bicep tears and shoulder pain are common injuries, mostly among men, with some cases requiring surgery. With the help of a shoulder specialist, bicep tenodesis may be necessary to repair the damage and reduce pain for good.
Beware of bicep injuries
Chances are there is a bicep injury if there is pain at the front of the upper arm or the elbow. The bicep has two tendons that attach the muscle to the shoulder and scapula. One tendon attaches the muscle to the elbow. A bicep tear happens when part or all of the bicep tendon detaches from the bone. Tenodesis refers explicitly to the long head bicep tendon separating from the scapula. Other injuries include rotator cuff tears and bicep tendonitis. These injuries cause chronic pain, swelling, stiffness, and weakness in the front of the shoulder, particularly at night.
Get some bicep help
If these injuries persist after trying pain management techniques, see a shoulder specialist right away. Shoulder specialists are orthopedic surgeons, physiatrists, or sports medicine physicians specializing in shoulder repair. For patients with chronic pain, the consultant may recommend bicep tenodesis. Bicep tenodesis is an innovative surgery to repair the tendon connecting the biceps to the shoulder. The procedure may be done as a solo surgery or combination procedure to treat both the bicep and shoulder.
Understanding bicep tenodesis
With bicep tenodesis, a surgeon will move or reattach the tendon from the superior labrum to the humerus. This procedure is quite complex but can bring relief for weightlifters suffering from months of pain. Bicep tenodesis can happen under minimally invasive means. The patient will be under general anesthesia in a beach chair position. The surgeon then enters an arthroscope at the back of the shoulder. Another surgical tool goes through the front of the shoulder. The tool grabs or cuts away the tendon. The surgeon will then use needles, screws, or a button to attach the tendon to the humerus. From there, the incisions are closed, and the patient heads to recovery.
Is bicep tenodesis for you?
Bicep tenodesis is not for everyone. However, rotator cuff repair patients or anyone with unsuccessful rotator cuff repair may benefit from the procedure. The surgery also helps those with constant bicep tendinosis, bicep tendonitis, or tears. Finally, if the long head bicep tendon has fully ruptured, the surgeon may decide on bicep tenodesis. Because of the complexities of the surgery, some doctors may choose other types of surgeries. Bicep tenodesis will only be recommended by a specialist who has fully evaluated the bicep and shoulder.
Success and risks
Bicep tenodesis is generally safe, and recovery can take 6 or more months with physical therapy. Up to 95% of patients undergoing the procedure are satisfied with the result. Most will feel pain relief and regain some muscle function. However, as with other surgeries, there are still rare but possible complications. Possible complications include infection, bleeding, and adverse reaction to anesthesia.
Back to weightlifting with bicep tenodesis
A bicep or shoulder injury to an athlete or weightlifter can be devastating. Many fear lifting in the future will be impossible, even with surgery. For chronic cases, severe pain, and previously failed surgeries, bicep tenodesis may be a saving grace. Some studies show that patients can go back to intense exercise after recovery. Speak with a shoulder specialist about bicep tenodesis if there is no relief from bicep or shoulder pain.