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Arthroscopy. 2004 Nov;20(9):964-73.

Arthroscopic bicipital sheath repair: two-year follow-up with pulley lesions.

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate arthroscopic repair in patients who had lesions of both the subscapularis insertion/medial head of the coracohumeral ligament and the lateral head of the coracohumeral ligament and supraspinatus tendon (a type 5 biceps subluxation/instability classification), and to determine if primary repair of the torn structures used to reconstruct the bicipital sheath was associated with a high biceps rupture rate. The null hypothesis, that there is no difference between preoperative and postoperative outcomes, was tested.


Prospective cohort.


Since 1995, the author has had 18 patients who had lesions that affected both the medial and lateral wall of the bicipital sheath. An adjunct was added if tendonitis was present with fraying, and the biceps tendon was debrided if the fraying consisted of 50% or less the width of the tendon. This was chosen arbitrarily. Greater than 50% fraying of the biceps tendon was treated with repair of the supraspinatus and subscapularis. The biceps tendon was treated with tenotomy or tenodesis in these cases and these patients were not included in this study. This article reports on the repair technique and results having a minimum of 2-year follow-up.


There were 12 male patients (age range, 45 to 80 years; average, 62 years) and 6 female patients (age range, 50 to 85 years; average, 66 years). The dominant extremity was involved in 12 of the 16 extremities. Preoperative, ASES Index, Total Constant scores, Subjective Constant scores, Objective Constant scores, visual analog pain scales, and percent function were 31 +/- 19, 53 +/- 13, 12 +/- 8, 41 +/- 8, 7 +/- 3, and 42 +/- 17, respectively. Postoperative scores were 80 +/- 14, 77 +/- 10, 30 +/- 4, 47 +/- 7, 2 +/- 2, and 84 +/- 14, respectively. The null hypothesis was rejected at a level of P = .001, .001, .001, .05, .001, and .001, respectively.


There was 1 biceps disruption in this cohort following repair, for an incidence rate of 6%. There were 2 patients, active tennis players, who had recurrence of biceps inflammation in the follow-up period with no evidence of biceps subluxation. The arthroscopic technique reported is a primary repair used to reconstruct the normal structures of the groove. This may explain why previous recommendations not to reconstruct the groove because of the high biceps disruption rate have been noted previously. This study did not deepen the groove, tubulize the biceps tendon, or close the rotator interval in nonanatomic fashion. This arthroscopic technique is technically feasible and can alleviate the symptoms of biceps tendon inflammation and/or subluxation in the majority of cases in this cohort.


Level IV, Case Series.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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