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J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2010 Jul;19(5):764-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2010.01.024. Epub 2010 May 14.

Complications associated with subpectoral biceps tenodesis: low rates of incidence following surgery.

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Section of Shoulder & Elbow Surgery, Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Rush University Medical Center, Rush Medical College of Rush University, Chicago, IL, USA.



Tenodesis of the long head of the biceps tendon is a common procedure used to alleviate pain caused by instability or inflammation of the tendon. The purpose of this study is to report on the incidence and types of complications following an open subpectoral biceps tenodesis (OBT) procedure.


Our hypothesis was that the rate of adverse events after OBT was low.


From January 2005 to December 2007, all patients that underwent an OBT with bioabsorbable interference screw fixation performed by 1 of the 2 senior authors for biceps tendonitis were reviewed, excluding tenotomy, revision cases, or fixation methods other than interference screw fixation.


Over a 3-year period, 7 of 353 patients had complications with OBT with an incidence of 2.0%. The mean age of patients with complications was 44.67 years, with 57.1% males and 42.9% females. There were 2 patients (0.57%) with persistent bicipital pain. Two patients (0.57%) had failure of fixation resulting in a Popeye deformity. One patient (0.28%) presented with a deep postoperative wound infections that necessitated irrigation and debridement with intravenous antibiotics. Another patient (0.28%) developed a musculotaneous neuropathy. Another patient (0.28%) developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy necessitating pain management and stellate ganglion block.


The incidence of complications after subpectoral biceps tenodesis with interference screw fixation in a population of 353 patients over the course of 3 years was 2.0%.

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