Delayed repair of distal biceps tendon ruptures is successful: a case-control study
Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
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© 2017 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees Background The literature has shown an increased complication rate with a delay to surgical repair of acute distal biceps tendon ruptures; however, little has been documented regarding the outcome of delayed repairs. This case-control study compared a study cohort of delayed (>21 days) distal biceps tendon repairs with a control cohort repaired acutely (<21 days). Methods Sixteen delayed repair cases were reviewed and matched with acute controls (1:3) based on repair technique, age, and workers’ compensation status. The delayed cohort was reviewed and completed isometric strength testing and the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire; Patient-Rated Elbow Evaluation; and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons elbow questionnaire. Results The time to surgery averaged 37 ± 12 days in the delayed cohort versus 10 ± 6 days in the acute cohort. Complications occurred in 63% of patients in the delayed cohort versus 29% in the acute cohort (P = .04); however, 90% of the delayed cohort's complications consisted of transient paresthesias. Follow-up scores on the Patient-Rated Elbow Evaluation, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire, and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons elbow questionnaire were not statistically different between cohorts (P > .37, P > .22, and P > .46, respectively). Conclusions Despite a high rate of initial complications, patients treated with distal biceps tendon repair after a delay (>21 days) can expect similar functional outcomes to those treated acutely.