Outcomes of Triceps Rupture in the US Military: Minimum 2-Year Follow-up

John C. Dunn, Nicholas Kusnezov, Austin Fares*, Kelly Kilcoyne, E’stephan Garcia, Justin D. Orr, Brian R. Waterman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: The objective of this study was to examine the subjective and objective midterm functional clinical outcomes of surgically repaired triceps injuries in a moderate- to high-demand population. Methods: The US Military Health System was queried to identify all surgically treated triceps tendon ruptures between 2008 and 2013. Primary endpoints included rates of rerupture, perioperative complications, or significant persistent elbow dysfunction; Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score, Mayo Elbow score, and ability to do push-ups were also extracted. Results: Thirty-seven patients underwent triceps tendon repair with a mean follow-up of 49.8 ± 17.3 months (range: 26.8-80.2). The most common mechanisms of injury were military duties (27%), sporting activity (24%), or fall-related (21.6%), with most injuries occurring during an eccentric movement (54%). While 45% experienced occasional elbow pain postoperatively, only 1 patient (2.7%) had a rerupture. Despite this, at 2 years, 31 patients (84%) were able to return to full military duty. While 6 patients were discharged from military service, only 1 underwent medical separation while 5 retired for reasons unrelated to their triceps tendon rupture. Patient-reported outcomes were available for 14 patients at final follow-up. The average DASH and Mayo Elbow scores were 4.7 (SD ± 4.7, range: 0-15.9) and 85.4 (SD ± 11.7, range: 60-100), respectively. The cohort could perform mean 54.2 (range: 9-90) push-ups. In additional, 12 of 14 (85.7%) were satisfied with their elbow function. Conclusions: The active duty cohort experienced excellent postoperative results with a high rate of return to military duty, despite nearly half of the patients recognizing some degree of activity-related, elbow pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-202
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • military
  • tendon rupture
  • triceps


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