Reinsertion of the acutely ruptured distal biceps is the preferred method of treatment for most patients and is designed to restore flexion and supination strength. It is not clear which, if any, method of fixation is superior or whether a 2-incision or single-incision approach is associated with fewer complications or better outcomes.

(1) There is no difference in biomechanical performance between currently used fixation methods, (2) there is no difference in incidence of complications between the 2-incision and single-incision approach, and (3) there is no difference in clinical outcomes between the 2-incision and single-incision approach.

Systematic review; Level of evidence, 4.

The authors performed a systematic review of the literature studying treatment of the ruptured distal biceps tendon to determine optimal fixation method as well as surgical approach with lowest incidence of complications and highest proportion of satisfactory results.

The review identified 8 articles that had relevant biomechanical data, 23 with relevant complication data, and 19 with relevant clinical results data. EndoButton fixation performed best in comparative biomechanical studies. There was no difference in overall incidence of complications between 2-incision approaches (16%) and single-incision approaches (18%), but there were significantly more instances of significant loss of forearm rotation with the 2-incision approach. There were significantly more unsatisfactory clinical results in the 2-incision repair group (31% vs 6%; odds ratio, 7.6; 95% confidence interval, 3.2-17.7), with the majority of unsatisfactory results in the 2-incision group due to loss of forearm rotation or rotational strength.

EndoButton fixation has the highest load and stiffness of currently available fixation methods. Two-incision repairs have a significantly greater proportion of unsatisfactory results than do single-incision repairs.

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