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Biceps tenotomy is a surgical procedure used to resolve bicipital tenosynovitis and other conditions which result in inflammation of the biceps tendon. This procedure is considered highly effective in resolving inflammation of the biceps tendon attributed to trauma, injury, or disease. Surgical management of the condition is generally more effective in treating the condition compared to medical management, although additional treatments are generally recommended in addition to biceps tenotomy in order to restore full muscle function.
An arthroscopic examination of the shoulder will first be conducted to confirm the diagnosis. The veterinarian will then determine whether the condition warrants surgical treatment. The general procedure steps for biceps tenotomy are outlined below.
This procedure may be performed using a scalpel or an arthroscope. The instrument used will depend on the expertise of the surgeon.
Biceps tenotomy is typically very effective in treating bicipital tenosynovitis. Although there are conservative medical treatments for bicipital tenosynovitis, these are only effective in treating approximately 50% of cases. The drawback of surgery is that, although the condition has a significantly greater chance of resolving the condition, the recovery process is more extensive.
Owners should follow their surgeon’s recovery instructions carefully. An Elizabethan collar will be required to ensure cats do not irritate the surgery site. Cats will be given analgesics to manage postoperative pain. At home, cats should rest and not engage in activities which could result in additional trauma to the tendon. Some cats may be required to participate in rehabilitation therapy to ensure full function returns to the muscle. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled two weeks after surgery to remove sutures and monitor healing. Another follow-up appointment will be scheduled for eight weeks after surgery to monitor healing progress. Cats tend to make a full recovery within two to three months following surgery.
The cost of biceps tenotomy will vary based on standards of living and additional costs incurred, including medications, supportive care, and additional treatments. On average, the cost of biceps tenotomy ranges from $500 to $5,000.
The recovery process for biceps tenotomy is typically much longer than that of medical treatment. However, surgery is more effective in resolving the condition. Cats may walk with an abnormal gait or may hesitate to bear weight on the affected limb for the first few weeks following surgery. This is normal and should resolve over time.
Additional treatments are often needed to restore muscle function to the limb. These typically include electrical stimulation therapy, exercise therapy, massage, ice pack therapy, medical management, and nutritional changes. The treatment plan for bicipital tenosynovitis will vary based on the cat’s specific needs as well as the owner’s personal and financial preferences.
Complications from this surgery are considered rare. However, they are possible. Complications of biceps tenotomy may include, but are not limited to:
Biceps tenotomy that is performed arthroscopically is typically associated with fewer postoperative complications and a decreased risk of tissue damage. Additionally, infection is considered rare in arthroscopic surgeries.
Since bicipital tenosynovitis often occurs as a result of trauma or repeated injury, it is important for owners to prevent their cats from engaging in activities that may cause trauma or injury to the biceps tendon. This includes jumping or falling from heights or overstretching the tendon. Owners should monitor their cats’ activity closely following any tendon injury. It is difficult to prevent bicipital tenosynovitis which is attributed to congenital defects such as chronic osteochondritis. However, cats with these conditions should not be bred.
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