AC Joint & Bicep Injuries

Injury to the acromioclavicular joint can occur as a consequence of a direct blow to the tip of the shoulder from a fall or impact with another player if the person is playing sports. If the injury is severe enough, the doctor will most likely recommend surgery, which can be performed arthroscopically.

The good news is that most patients obtain excellent pain relief following the procedure, and up to 95% return to their former level of activity and playing sports.

When it comes to biceps injuries, there are many types, such as tendinitis, tendon dislocation, and tendon tear or rupture. Each requires a unique surgical approach if surgery is necessary for proper healing.

How Is Surgery for AC Joint and Biceps Injuries Performed?

Acromioclavicular dislocations are the most common type of acromioclavicular joint injuries, as they make up over 40% of shoulder injuries that occur in contact athletes. The main goal of acromioclavicular joint surgery is to relieve pain and restore function by removing the damaged end of the clavicle bone. The procedure can be carried out arthroscopically, which will allow the patient to leave the hospital the same day and speed up their recovery since the technique is minimally invasive.

Since the pain the patient experiences is caused by the ends of the bones making contact with each other, a portion of the end of the collarbone will be removed during surgery. The acromioclavicular joint is one of the few in the body a person can live without a portion of the bone making it up. The conservative surgical procedure is carried out through a small incision of 1 inch, but if the orthopedic surgeon uses the arthroscopic technique, it will be performed with several tiny incisions. Following the procedure, regardless of the type, the patient will have to wear a sling. The stitches come out a week later, and the shoulder will regain motion immediately.

These are some of the benefits of acromioclavicular joint injury surgery done arthroscopically:

Biceps tenodesis is a surgical procedure utilized to relieve the pain caused by biceps tendinosis. Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure performed via a “keyhole” approach through 2 or 3 small incisions using a piece of equipment resembling a thin telescope. During surgery, the patient is usually sat up in a beach chair-type position. The orthopedic surgeon introduces a camera into the shoulder through one of the incisions and views the images on a monitor.

Once the problem is identified, they cut the attachment of the biceps tendon to the labrum, which is the cartilage around the shoulder socket and reattaches it to the humerus, the upper arm bone. The benefit of reattaching the tendon is restored function and alleviated pain.

How Long Does Recovery Take?

For patients who underwent acromioclavicular joint injury surgery, it takes 4 to 6 weeks to get complete motion and several more weeks to regain strength. Recovery depends on many factors, but most patients are back to their usual level of activity within 3 months.

As for biceps injury surgery, patients will need approximately 3 to 4 months for their biceps muscle to heal. They will be able to perform easier daily activities in 2 to 3 weeks as long as they avoid using the injured arm. People with a desk job can return to work within 1 to 2 weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions