I'm going to have a biceps tendon repair next week. What kind of recovery and rehab should I expect?

There are many factors in the outcome of this operation. Your age and general health are very important. Healing can be delayed by smoking, diabetes, poor nutrition, and stress.

The type of surgery done is also important. An open incision takes longer to heal than a mini-incision or arthroscopic surgery. Likewise, the type of repair done will make a difference. Rehab takes longer if the rotator cuff is repaired at the same time as the biceps tendon repair. The same is true if the doctor has to remove a piece of bone to make room for the soft tissues.

Most patients are immobilized in a sling for seven to 10 days no matter which operation is done. Physical therapy is usually started two weeks after the operation. The therapist will start with motion exercises and slowly move you toward strengthening exercises.

Lifting will be added sometime after six weeks. Only small items with minimal weight are allowed at first. This restriction is taken away 12 weeks after the operation. You will continue to build strength from there.