Low mental health scores are associated with worse patient-reported outcomes and difficulty with return to work and sport after distal biceps repair

Thomas Yetter, Andrew G. Patton, Ahmed Mansi, Nicholas Maassen, Jeremy S. Somerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Most patients have successful outcomes with minimal limitations after distal biceps repair, but a minority continues experiencing functional constraints. We hypothesize that low scores on a validated mental health measure correlate with worse patient-reported outcomes and increased difficulty with return to work and sport. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of a consecutive series of patients who underwent distal biceps repair with a single-incision cortical button technique and immediate mobilization. Patient-reported outcome data were available at 1 year or later for 33 (85%) patients. The primary outcomes were American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons-Elbow (ASES-E) score, Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation score, Visual Analog Scale for pain, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand Score (QuickDASH), and Veterans RAND 12 (VR-12) quality-of-life assessment. Results: All patients were male, with a median age of 49 years (range, 28-65). None had reruptures, and 1 (3%) had superficial wound dehiscence that healed without further surgery. Eleven (33%) had postoperative neuropraxia, 6 of which resolved completely. At latest follow-up, the median Visual Analog Scale was 0 (range, 0-5; mean, 1), and median ASES-E functional score was 36 (range, 24-36; mean, 34). Median Single Assessment Numeric Evaluation score was 92 (range, 41-100). The median QuickDASH was 5 (range, 0-50; mean, 11). More than half of the patients with VR-12 mental component score (MCS) < 50 (5 of 9, 56%) reported difficulty with work activities, compared with 4% (1 of 24) of patients with an MCS ≥ 50 (P =.001). Most patients (8 of 9, 89%) with an MCS < 50 also reported difficulty with return to sporting activities, compared with only 8% (2 of 24) of patients with MCS ≥ 50 (P <.0001). Patients with an MCS < 50 (n = 9) had significantly worse ASES-E functional scores (median, 34; range, 27-36) and QuickDASH scores (median 23, range 0-43), compared with those with an MCS ≥ 50 (ASES-E: median, 36; range, 24-36; P =.033; QuickDASH: median, 2; range, 0-50; P =.026). Most patients (17 of 24, 71%) with MCS ≥ 50 had a perfect score of 36 on the ASES-E functional outcome score, compared with only 22% (2 of 9) among patients with MCS < 50. Conclusion: Patients who undergo distal biceps repair show excellent functional patient-reported outcomes at 1-year and later follow-up. Lower scores on the VR-12 MCS are associated with worse patient-reported outcome scores and difficulty with return to work and sporting activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-600
Number of pages4
JournalJSES International
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Biceps
  • Distal
  • Level III
  • Mental component score
  • Mental health
  • Prognosis study
  • Repair
  • Rupture
  • retrospective cohort comparison

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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