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Old 10-01-2010, 11:49 AM
ScottM ScottM is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default Distal Biceps Surgery Experience

I just wanted to report my experience with distal biceps surgery to help those that are unfortunate enough to have to go through this procedure. I had a complete tear playing softball, swinging a bat. The tear was on 6/14/10 and surgery was done on 6/21/10 by Dr. Matthew Tomaino. First of all let me say that this is not a very common surgery and it is necessary in my opinion to make sure your surgeon is experienced. I have complete faith in Dr. Tomaino's ability using the one incision "endobutton". Let me also say early on that there is a website called tendonsurgeryinfo.com that has a distal biceps surgery section, which is a forum with hundreds of people that have gone through this surgery and their experiences with everything from pain medication to rehab.

I am 44 years old and have been weight lifting consistently for 22 years. Before surgery I was benching about 350 with a pause. The surgery took about an hour, and for 10 days I was in a soft cast with about 12 staples in my forearm. Pain was intense the first day and I was sick several times the next morning before taking anti-nausea medication. I was allowed a limited range of motion after the cast and staples were removed, and used only a sling for the next 3 weeks. Many patients are put in a ROM brace and undergo physical therapy, which was unecessary in my case.

I started working out 5 days post op in order to minimize atrophy on my good side. I mostly did dumbell exercises, Hammer Strength equipment, and leg machines, 3 days per week. I lifted as heavy as I could on the good side right from the start, as foolish as I may have looked in the gym. I really think this keeps the blood flowing, aids in recovery, and definitely helped keep my sanity. My forearm was very numb and tingly for a long time after the soft cast was removed, but gradually regains feeling each week. It was also very stiff for a long time. The surgery affects a lot of nerves. At 4 weeks post op, I began doing really light Hammer Strength machines with surgery side as long as the motion did not engage the bicep. Again, just to get the blood moving in my shoulder, chest, and tricep on the surgery side. I had full range of motion at about 6 weeks.

At tendonsurgeryinfo.com, there are some very aggressive weight training programs that I was anxious to emulate, which started at 6 weeks post op. I, however, was not given release to engage the bicep for 12 weeks. This appears to be conservative, but I bit the bullet and followed the advice (mostly). At 11 weeks, I started benching again, the bar first, then gradually adding weight every 3-4 days. I started curling the repaired bicep at 12 weeks, starting with 2.5lbs for about 50 reps, 3 times every other day, and have been going up 2.5lbs every 4-5 days. At 14 weeks post op, I benched 225 for 12 reps, which felt pretty good. My bicep didn't hurt but my wrist/forearm is still a little sensitive. Today is 14 weeks and 3 days post op. At my follow up visit with Dr. Tomaino today I was given unrestricted release at 16 weeks. I will continue adding weight gradually, and avoid sudden movements and ballistic training for another month or two. Definitely anxious to play golf before winter.

I hope this is helpful to someone. Definitely visit tendonsurgeryinfo.com. Many thanks to Dr. Tomaino for a successful surgery.

Last edited by ScottM; 11-24-2010 at 10:25 AM. Reason: typo
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