Tenotomy or Tenodesis for Tendinopathy of the Long Head of the Biceps Brachii: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Bauke Kooistra*, Navin Gurnani, Alexander Weening, Derek van Deurzen, Michel van den Bekerom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this meta-analysis was to provide an up-to-date comparison of clinical outcomes of tenotomy and tenodesis in the surgical treatment of long head of the biceps brachii (LHB) tendinopathy. Methods: A literature search was conducted in EMBASE, Pubmed/Medline and the Cochrane database from January 2000 to May 2020. All studies comparing clinical outcomes between LHB tenotomy and tenodesis were included. Quality was assessed using the Coleman score. Results: We included 25 studies (8 randomized studies) comprising 2,191 patients undergoing LHB tenotomy or tenodesis, with or without concomitant shoulder procedures (mainly rotator cuff repairs). The Coleman score ranged from 29 to 97 for all studies. When comparing tenodesis and tenotomy in randomized studies, no clinically relevant differences were found in the Constant score (mean difference, 0.9 points), the American Shoulder and Elbow Society Score (mean difference, 1.1 points), shoulder pain (mean difference in visual analogue scale, -0.3 points), elbow flexion strength loss (mean difference, 0%), or forearm supination strength (mean difference, 3%). A Popeye deformity (odds ratio, 0.32) was less commonly seen in patients treated with tenodesis (9% vs 23%). Conclusion: In our meta-analysis, a Popeye deformity was more frequently observed in patients treated with tenotomy. Based on a substantial number of studies, there is no evidence-based benefit of LHB tenodesis over tenotomy in terms of shoulder function, shoulder pain or biceps-related strength. It is unclear whether LHB tenodesis is of benefit in specific patient groups such as younger individuals. Level of evidence: Level III, systematic review of level III or higher studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1199-e1209
JournalArthroscopy, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

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