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Biceps Tenodesis

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Updated April 15, 2014

Portrait of a young man touching his shoulder in pain Stockbyte/Getty Images
Definition: A biceps tenodesis is a surgical procedure usually performed for the treatment of biceps tendonitis of the shoulder. A biceps tenodesis may be performed as an isolated procedure, but more often is part of a larger shoulder surgery such as a rotator cuff repair.

The biceps tendon connects the biceps muscle to the bone. The tendon passes from the muscle, through the rotator cuff, into the shoulder joint, and attaches to the socket of the shoulder joint.

Patients with biceps tendon problems may have a detachment of the biceps tendon from the socket of the shoulder (a so-called 'SLAP' tear), or they may have inflammation and irritation of the biceps tendon itself. Biceps tendon problems can also occur in conjunction with a rotator cuff tear.

What is a biceps tenodesis?
A biceps tenodesis is a procedure that cuts the normal attachment of the biceps tendon on the shoulder socket and reattaches the tendon to the bone of the humerus (arm bone). By performing a biceps tenodesis, the pressure of the bicpes attachment is taken off the cartilage rim of the shoulder socket (the labrum), and a portion of the biceps tendon can be surgically removed.

Essentially a biceps tenodesis moves the attachment of the biceps tendon to a position that is out of the way of the shoulder joint.

What patients should have a biceps tenodesis?
A biceps tenodesis is performed most commonly in patients with significant biceps tendon symptoms, and evidence at the time of arthroscopy of biceps tendon inflammation or tears. A biceps tenodesis is usually performed in patients over the age of 40, whereas other procedures such as a SLAP repair may be attempted in younger patients.

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