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This article is the author's final published version in JSES International, Volume 5, Issue 2, March 2021, pp. 302-306.

The published version is available at

Copyright 2020 The Authors.

Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons.This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


Background: The purpose of this analysis was to analyze outcomes of distal biceps reconstruction with soft tissue allograft in the setting of chronic, irreparable distal biceps ruptures. The outcomes of these cases were then compared with a matched cohort of distal biceps ruptures that were able to be repaired primarily.

Methods: Retrospective review of an institutional elbow surgery database was conducted. All cases of distal biceps repairs were identified by Common Procedural Terminology, ICD-9, and ICD-10 codes from January 2009 to March 2018. A direct review of operative reports was then conducted to identify which cases required allograft reconstruction. After identification of this population, a 2:1 manually matched cohort of patients who underwent primary repair was generated using age, gender, body mass index, and age-adjusted Charlson Comorbidity Index. Finally, the allograft reconstruction and matched primary repair cohorts were compared for reoperation, range of motion, and patient-reported outcomes scores.

Results: There were 46 male patients who underwent distal biceps reconstruction with allograft (14 Achilles tendon, 32 semitendinosus) and they were matched to 92 male patients that underwent primary distal biceps repair. Mean patient age (46.9 ± 10.3 vs. 47.0 ± 9.8 years, P = .95), BMI (31.3 ± 5.3 vs. 31.3 ± 4.8 kg/m2, P = .60), and Charlson Comorbidity Index (1.2 ± 1.1 vs. 1.3 ± 0.9, P = .64) were similar between allograft reconstruction and primary repair groups. Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score (7.4 ± 18.0 vs. 1.6 ± 4.1, P = .23), Mayo Elbow Performance Score (92.1 ± 19.7 vs. 97.3 ± 6.4, P = .36), and Oxford Elbow Score (43.4 ± 11.0 vs. 46.8 ± 3.2, P = .25) were not significantly different between groups at mean 5.1 years (range, 1.5-10.9 years) after surgery. There were 1 of 42 (2.2%) allograft patients who require revision compared with 3 of 92 (3.3%, P = .719) in the primary repair group. In addition, one primary repair required reoperation for scar tissue excision and lateral antebrachial cutaneous neurolysis. Final range of motion data (twelve-week follow-up) for the allograft reconstruction group was similar to primary repair group in flexion (136.1° ± 5.3° vs. 135.9° ± 2.7°, P = .81), extension (0.8° ± 2.9° vs. 0.4° ± 1.7°, P = .53), pronation (78.0° ± 9.0° vs. 76.4° ± 15.4°, P = .50), supination (77.4° ± 10.7° vs. 77.5° ± 11.9°, P = .96).

Conclusion: Patients who underwent distal biceps reconstruction with a graft had similar failure rates, reoperation rates, final range of motion, and patient-reported outcomes scores as those treated without a graft. Patients can be consulted that direct repair in the acute setting is preferred; however, even in the setting of a distal biceps reconstruction with graft augmentation, they can expect low complications and good functional results.

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