distal bicep tear recovery – week 1

I tore my left distal bicep on July 26 and had repair surgery on it on the 29th. I’m going to document my recovery here to track progress.

There’s a lot of good info here.

This is the day after. The bruising wasn’t initially there. I’m trying to highlight how you can see the tendon has detached from the bone.

I can’t say much about my surgical experience as I was put under and have a 4 hour gap when the surgery took place. The most common procedure for this type of injury involves making an incision in your forearm, reaching up into the bicep to pull the muscle back down, drilling a hole in your forearm, and then inserting the tendon into the bone. According to the surgeon, everything went well. I’ll have to take his word for it. My medical bill was $36K, but after insurance I was on the hook for only $2K.

After the surgery, I was in a splint and sling until my follow-up appointment about a week and a half later. The main concerns at this point are to keep all pressure off the arm and keep it dry. You want to give the reattached bicep time to heal properly. DO NOT USE THE ARM. Thankfully, my wife helped me out quite a bit. It was pretty humbling to have to ask for help for things like soaping my armpit in the shower.

The day after surgery

The splint was removed on August 9, but I’m in the sling for a while longer. The doctor wants me to try slowly extending the arm several times a day but keep it in the sling otherwise. At this point I can use the arm to lift no more than a cup of coffee. There’s a numbness on the thumb side of my forearm from below the incision to about where my thumb begins on the back of my hand. It just feels like I got local anesthesia in the area. This is a common condition post-surgery as a nerve in the area is stretched during the procedure. My grip felt weak when I first got the splint off, but feels normal now. I cannot move my left arm in a palm up position and fully extending the arm is out of the question.

Splint off!

I can’t flex my injured bicep and it is noticeably flatter. My tricep looks to be totally disengaged as well.

Injured arm (obviously)
Normal arm

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