Pain, then pop! Skilled orthopaedic surgeon repairs torn biceps tendon
Gary Fieweger was playing volleyball last year when he extended his right arm, trying to recover a ball. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain and weakness in the arm. Still, he decided to play football the next day.
Robert Manz, MD
“I reached out to grab one of our little kids as he was running past me and then it really hurt,” said Fieweger, 48, of West Bend. “Tat’s when I did the damage.”
Gary Herdrich, MD
An MRI revealed a severe partial tear in his distal biceps tendon. Froedtert Health Medical Group orthopaedic surgeon Robert Manz, MD, who is fellowship-trained and
specializes in hand and upper extremity injuries, repaired Gary’s arm surgically.
Te biceps tendon tear is an injury commonly seen in men age 40-60. Often the patient will hear a “pop” at the time the tendon tears. When the tear is at the elbow, the patient may lose 50 percent arm strength if the tendon isn’t fixed. But surgical techniques using large incisions are a thing of the past, according to Dr. Manz.
“Now, I use one or two smaller incisions around the elbow and attach the tendon with a combination of a suture and an anchor (inserting the tendon through a small hole in the humerus and anchoring it in place),” said Dr. Manz. “Te nice thing is I start immediate range of motion on the arm.”
Gary was referred to Dr. Manz by Froedtert Health Medical Group family medicine physician Gary Herdrich, MD, who had himself suffered a complete tendon tear while trying to help a patient who had lost his balance and was starting to fall.
“Dr. Manz was awesome and confident. I was very comfortable with the whole process,” Dr. Herdrich said.
Both men underwent rehab with certified hand therapist Joni Westenberger, OT, CHT, at Froedtert Health West Bend Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center. Recovery time is typically 3-4 months, starting with elbow and forearm range of motion exercises and work to decrease scar tissue.
“We do a lot of grip strengthening, gentle biceps curls, and forearm strengthening. We later transition those who have heavy manual jobs like carpenters and masons into our work reconditioning program,” Joni said. “Dr. Herdrich was extremely motivated. Our biggest challenge was not allowing him to do some of the things he felt ready to do right after the operation.”
“Dr. Manz and Joni were both excellent and very professional,” Gary said. “Dr. Manz showed me the X-rays, telling me exactly what happened in terms I could understand.”
To make an appointment with Dr. Manz, call the Froedtert Health West Bend Clinic at 262-334-3451.
Thomas Kudek, 49, of Kewaskum receives therapy on his arm from Joni Westenberger, OT, CHT, at Froedtert Health West Bend Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center. Dr. Robert Manz performed surgery to repair Tom’s right distal biceps tendon which he tore in March.
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