Triceps Tear Surgery

Your Diagnosis

Triceps tendon surgery is done to help people when their triceps is torn from its connection to the elbow.  See Triceps Tendon Tear section.

What happens during Surgery?

Surgery takes between 30 and 45 minutes. It is done with general anesthesia, meaning the person is asleep. During surgery a 1.5 inch incision is made on the back of the elbow. The torn tendon is cleaned up. It is then secured into the bone using a suture anchor.

Immediately after Surgery

The person will wakes up from surgery in the recovery room where they will spend 1 to 3 hours. They will be allowed to go home when they are awake enough. The person will go home in a sling and be asked not to use their arm. The person cannot drive or take public transportation home. They must have a ride.

A person may have questions following your surgery. Many of these frequently asked questions surgery questions can be answered here. 

Therapy after Surgery

After triceps tendon surgery, the person will be given Triceps Precautions for the first 6 weeks after surgery. Range-of-motion therapy under the guidance of a therapist will usually begin right away.  

What to expect after Surgery: week 0 through week 6 (Phase One)

  • PainRight after surgery, the elbow will hurt. Pain is expected. The person will be given pain medications to go home with. The pain medications will help with the pain but will not remove the pain. By day 5 after surgery most people have stopped taking the pain medication. It is important to stop taking the pain medications because a pain will protect the repair from falling apart.  People who continue to take the pain medications have a much greater chance of the surgery not working.
  • TherapyTherapy for elbow range-of-motion is usually started right away.
  • PrecautionsThe arm is to be kept in a sling as desired by the person. The person can come out of the sling at any time.  The person should not push with that arm for 6 weeks. Lifting is okay.
  • WorkIf a person returns to work they must follow the above precautions.

What to expect after Surgery: week 6 through week 12 (Phase Two)

  • PainMost people have minimal pain at this point.
  • TherapyAt this point a lightweight, high repetition strengthening therapy program will start. Range-of-motion therapy is usually not needed beyond 6 weeks.
  • PrecautionsThe person will be allowed to start using their elbow for normal daily activities such as opening a car door, driving, opening the refrigerator, lifting a box, etc. Heavy pushing should be avoided.
  • WorkMost people with desk jobs have returned to work. Those with manual labor jobs usually cannot return to work until after the arm has been strengthened.

What to expect after Surgery: week 12 through 1 year and beyond (Phase Three)

  • Pain: Most people have no pain.
  • Therapy: Formal therapy has usually stopped but some people will continue to do exercises at home.
  • Precautions: Usually there are no precautions by week 12.
  • Work: Most people (even manual laborers) have returned to work.