Arthroscopic suprapectoral biceps tenodesis provided earlier shoulder function restoration compared with open subpectoral biceps tenodesis during the recovery phase

Jonghyun Ahn, Jae Hyung Kim, Sang Jin Shin

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1 Scopus citations


Background: This study compared the clinical outcomes of open subpectoral biceps tenodesis and arthroscopic suprapectoral biceps tenodesis for symptomatic biceps tenosynovitis. Although both techniques have pros and cons, no studies have compared clinical and functional outcomes during the recovery phase. Previous studies show that suprapectoral tenodesis has a higher probability of Popeye deformity and postoperative bicipital pain and stiffness, whereas subpectoral tenodesis has a higher risk of nerve complications and wound infections. This study aimed for clinical comparison between arthroscopic suprapectoral biceps tenodesis and open subpectoral biceps tenodesis. Methods: This study is a retrospective review of institutional records of patients with biceps tendinitis who underwent open or arthroscopic biceps tenodesis. Surgical indications included biceps tenosynovitis, biceps partial tear, and biceps pulley lesion. Patients with prior shoulder surgery, preoperative shoulder stiffness, or full-thickness tear of rotator cuff were excluded. Tenodesis was considered when the pain recurs within 3 months despite conservative treatment including at least 2 triamcinolone injections on the biceps tendon sheath. Visual analog scale (VAS) score for pain, presence of the night pain, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) score, Constant score, and range of motion were assessed preoperatively at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively and the last follow-up. Results: A total of 72 patients (33 with arthroscopic suprapectoral biceps tenodeses and 39 with open subpectoral biceps tenodeses) were included in analysis. At postoperative 6 months, lower VAS score (0.4 ± 0.8 vs. 1.7 ± 1.9, P < .001), and the presence of the night pain (2 [6%] vs. 14 [36%], P = .002), ASES score (89.6 ± 9.2 vs. 81.4 ± 14.6, P = .006), and Constant score (89.4 ± 5.6 vs. 82.0 ± 12.5, P = .003) compared with the subpectoral group. The mean number of postoperative steroid injections for pain control in the subpectoral group (0.51 ± 0.80) was significantly higher than that in the suprapectoral group (0.18 ± 0.40) (P = .031). However, postoperative clinical outcomes were restored similar between the 2 groups at 12 months and the last follow-up. Discussion: Arthroscopic suprapectoral biceps tenodesis performed statistically better than the subpectoral biceps tenodesis for the VAS, ASES, night pain, and Constant score at postoperative 6 months. However, only night pain and the Constant score showed differences that exceeded minimum clinically important difference during the recovery phase. At postoperative 12 and 24 months, biceps tenodesis provided satisfactory clinical outcomes and pain relief regardless of the fixation technique and suture anchor location.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-685
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery Board of Trustees


  • Biceps tendinitis
  • Level III
  • Retrospective Cohort Comparison
  • Treatment Study
  • arthroscopic suprapectoral biceps tenodesis
  • biceps tenodesis
  • open subpectoral biceps tenodesis


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