Biceps Tendon Tear at the Shoulder

Biceps Tendon Tear at the Shoulder, Knee and Shoulder InstituteBiceps tendons attach the biceps muscle to bones in the elbow and shoulder. A tear in the biceps tendon at the shoulder may result in the patient losing some strength of the arm and experiencing pain while turning the arm. If the symptoms of biceps tendon tear are not relieved with non-surgical treatments, the patient may require surgery.

Biceps tendon tears may be either complete or partial. If left untreated, the damage may be progressive. Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler are board certified orthopedic surgeons providing treatment for biceps tendon tear to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada, and surrounding locations.



Biceps tendon tears are primarily caused due to injury or overuse. If a person falls hard on an outstretched arm or attempts to lift something too heavy with a sudden force, it may lead to a tear of the biceps tendon. The injury may afflict not just athletes but anyone who experiences a fall or meets with an accident.

Tears may also occur in the biceps tendon due to wearing down and fraying of the tendon over time. This will gradually occur with age, but can worse due to overuse when a person repeats the same shoulder motions again and again. Overuse can lead to a range of shoulder problems, which can add to the stress on the biceps tendon and make it more prone to tears.


Surgical Treatment

A long head of the biceps tendon tear will require surgical treatment only in rare cases. However, if the patient develops cramping of the muscle or persistent pain, or wants total recovery of shoulder strength, it may be necessary to perform surgery. Athletes and manual laborers may require surgery, and it may also be the right option for patients with partial tears who have not found relief with non-surgical treatments.

A number of innovative surgical techniques have been developed to repair the tendon in a minimally invasive manner. The goal of the surgery is to re-anchor the torn tendon back to the bone. The surgeon will discuss the treatment options that are appropriate to the patient’s condition. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada and nearby areas.


Recovery and Rehabilitation

Complications in this surgery are rare, and in most cases the repaired tendon will not re-rupture in future. Following the surgery, the shoulder may be immobilized with a sling for a few days.

The surgeon will recommend therapeutic exercises once the patient has recovered. Flexibility exercises will improve range of motion in the shoulder, while specific exercises to strengthen the shoulder will be added over time to the rehabilitation plan.

The muscle deformity can be corrected with surgery and the arm’s strength and function can return to normal following a successful procedure. The patient should follow the surgeon’s advice at every stage and stay committed to the post-operative rehabilitation and physical therapy to achieve optimal outcome. In many cases, the surgeon will first try to treat the torn tendon with non-surgical solutions and surgery will only be a last option.


If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9394

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