Distal biceps tendon repairs and reconstructions-an analysis of demographics, prodromal symptoms and complications

Toni Luokkala*, Sijin K. Sidharthan, Teemu V. Karjalainen, Juha Paloneva, Adam C. Watts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the demographics, complications and prodromal symptoms (any pain or unpleasant sensation in the area distal biceps tendon preceding the injury) of distal biceps tendon tears (DBTTs) of patients treated with primary repair or Achilles allograft reconstruction. Materials and methods: 228 consecutive DBTTs in 226 patients from a single centre were evaluated. The demographic data, prodromal symptoms and postoperative adverse events were documented. Results: There were 225 males and 1 female patient. The age distribution showed a bimodal pattern in the whole cohort, but once the 48 (20%) elite athletes were excluded, the age was normally distributed, peaking in the 5th decade. Direct repairs were performed in 184 cases and reconstruction with Achilles tendon allograft in 45 cases. An adverse event was observed in 34 (19%) patients who underwent direct repair and in 3 (7%) cases with graft reconstruction, corresponding to RR of 0.32 (95% CI 0.1–0.96, p = 0.04). Adjusting with the potential confounders (age, occupation and smoking), the OR was 0.35; 95% CI 0.09–1.3, p = 0.11). Adverse events included 28 (12.3% of all adverse events) lateral antebrachial cutaneous nerve (LABCN) neurapraxias, 5 (2.1%) other neurapraxias, 6 (2.6%) heterotopic ossifications and 1 (0.4%) re-rupture. Twenty-three (10%) patients reported prodromal symptoms before the tear. Conclusions: DBTT is a condition that affects men predominantly. The observed bimodal incidence distribution was related to elite athletes, but in the normal population the peak occurs at the age typical to tendinopathies. LABCN neurapraxia was the most common adverse event, and graft use does not seem to predispose to adverse events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1351-1357
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Issue number7
Early online date23 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2022


  • Achilles Tendon/transplantation
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries
  • Prodromal Symptoms
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rupture/surgery
  • Tendon Injuries/surgery


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