High Rate of Return to Sporting Activity Among Overhead Athletes With Subpectoral Biceps Tenodesis for Type II SLAP Tear


      To evaluate the functional and athletic outcomes after primary subpectoral biceps tenodesis for type II SLAP tear in overhead athletes.


      All competitive elite athletes with type II SLAP tears undergoing biceps tenodesis by a single surgeon were isolated between 2007 and 2015. Exclusion criteria were applied to individuals not involved in overhead athletics, clinical follow-up <24 months, adjacent rotator cuff or labral repair, concomitant SLAP repair, and/or previous arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Patient-reported outcome measures included visual analog scale (VAS), Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic shoulder score, and Single Assessment Numerical Assessment. Clinical and sporting outcomes were recorded using a sports-specific questionnaire.


      Of 22 identified patients, 16 competitive overhead athletes (72.7%; 11 men, 5 women) with a mean age of 21.0 years were available at mean 4.5-year follow-up. Baseball or softball comprised the majority of patients (n = 9; 56.3%), followed by gymnastics (n = 2), swimming (n = 2), and other sports (n = 3). At mean 4.1 months postoperatively, 13 patients (81.3%) returned to previous level of athletic activity, whereas 2 patients (12.5%) failed to return to sporting activity and 1 (6.3%) returned at a lower level of competition. VAS pain significantly decreased from an average of 4.4 preoperatively to 1.7 postoperatively (P = .002), and mean Single Assessment Numerical Assessment scores also demonstrated significant improvement (55.4-76.7; P = .008). Final mean Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic score was 74.0 (standard deviation 25.9), including 2 patients with suboptimal outcomes due to persistent pain. There were no significant differences in mean forward flexion or rotation in either the adducted or throwing position (P > .05), although small, significant decreases in postoperative active abduction were noted (165° vs 155°; P = .003).


      In the current series of competitive overhead athletes, 81% of patients returned to previous level of play at an average of 4.1 months postoperatively after subpectoral biceps tenodesis for symptomatic SLAP tear. Athletes reliably experienced significant decreased activity-related pain with athletic function.

      Level of Evidence

      IV, case series.
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