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Scientific Articles   |    
Nonoperative Treatment of Distal Biceps Tendon Ruptures Compared with a Historical Control Group
Carl R. Freeman, MD1; Kelly R. McCormick, MD1; Donna Mahoney, CHT1; Mark Baratz, MD2; John D. Lubahn, MD1
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hamot Medical Center, 201 State Street, Erie, PA 16550. E-mail address for C.R. Freeman: carlrfreeman@gmail.com
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Allegheny General Hospital, Federal North Building, 1307 Federal Street, 2nd Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
View Disclosures and Other Information
Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity.
Investigation performed at Hamot Medical Center, Erie, Pennsylvania

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2009 Oct 01;91(10):2329-2334. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.H.01150
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Abstract

Background: Few data are available regarding the results of nonoperative treatment of distal biceps ruptures. The present study was designed to assess the outcomes associated with unrepaired distal biceps tendon ruptures.

Methods: Eighteen patients with twenty unrepaired distal biceps tendon ruptures were assessed retrospectively. The median duration of follow-up was thirty-eight months. Sixteen of the eighteen patients were male, and the median age at the time of the injury was fifty years (range, thirty-five to seventy-four years). Supination strength and elbow flexion strength were measured bilaterally, and patient outcomes were assessed with use of the Broberg and Morrey Functional Rating Index, the Mayo Elbow Performance Index, and the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire. Data were compared with historical controls compiled from six published series of operatively treated patients.

Results: The median supination and elbow flexion strengths for the injured arm were 63% (mean, 74%; range, 33% to 162%) and 93% (mean, 88%; range, 58% to 110%) of those for the contralateral arm, compared with values of 92% (mean, 101%; range, 42% to 297%) and 95% (mean, 97%; range, 53% to 191%) for the historical controls that had been treated surgically. The difference between the mean values was significant for supination strength (p = 0.002) but not for flexion strength (p = 0.164). Patients had satisfactory outcomes overall, with median scores on the Broberg and Morrey Functional Rating Index, the Mayo Elbow Performance Index, and the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire of 85, 95, and 9, respectively.

Conclusions: Nonoperative treatment of distal biceps tendon ruptures can yield acceptable outcomes with modestly reduced strength, especially supination.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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