Does the timing of tenotomy during biceps tenodesis affect the incidence of Popeye deformity and clinical outcome? An analysis of short-term follow-up of 2 techniques

Nathan S. Lanham, Rifat Ahmed, Nathan J. Kopydlowski, John D. Mueller, William N. Levine, Charles M. Jobin

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Background: There are multiple techniques that attempt to maintain anatomic length-tension relationship during biceps tenodesis. However, no direct comparison has been performed with respect to the timing of biceps tenotomy during biceps tenodesis. This study aims to assess the incidence of Popeye deformity and clinical outcomes of 2 all-arthroscopic techniques for biceps tenodesis based on timing of the biceps tenotomy. Methods: A consecutive series of patients undergoing arthroscopic biceps tenodesis with concomitant rotator cuff tears were enrolled from 2019 to 2021. Biceps tenodesis performed after tenotomy formed the first cohort (group 1). The other cohort had biceps tenodesis performed prior to biceps tenotomy (group 2). Postoperative anterior arm pain, biceps muscle spasms, and patient perceptions of the appearance of the bicep muscle were assessed. In addition, patient-reported outcomes (PROs) were collected at 3 months and minimum 6 months postoperatively. Results: A total of 71 patients were eligible for participation and 62 patients (53% female, age 58.7 ± 9.0 years) were enrolled (n = 33 in group 1, and n = 29 in group 2). There were no differences between groups with respect to gender, age, and laterality of biceps tenodesis, as well as type and size of rotator cuff repair. At 3-month follow-up, Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12) physical health summary scores were significantly improved in group 2 (44.8 ± 9.7) compared with group 1 (34.1 ± 3.4) (P = .03). In addition, patients in group 2 experienced significantly less pain in their anterior arm than patients in group 1 (19% vs. 33%, P = .02). There were no differences in biceps muscle spasm (3.4% vs. 5.2%, P = .21) and no other differences in PROs between groups. Final follow-up averaged 11.6 ± 3.3 months in group 1 and 11.8 ± 5.5 months in group 2. There were no significant differences in patient-perceived biceps Popeye deformity between group 1 (12.1%) and group 2 (0%) (P = .652). Furthermore, there were no differences in American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Standardized Shoulder Assessment Form, EuroQol-5 Dimension, Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Global Health (PROMIS 10) physical health, PROMIS 10 depression, VR-12 physical health summary, and Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation scores between the 2 technique groups. Conclusion: Patients with tenotomy performed after tenodesis had better VR-12 physical health summary scores and less arm pain than patients with tenotomy performed before tenodesis at 3-month follow-up. However, there were no differences in any outcome at final follow-up of nearly 1-year. In addition, there were no differences in perceived Popeye deformity between groups at any time period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-923
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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