Surgery Is a Low-Risk Treatment Option for Patients with Pectoralis Major Tendon Ruptures

    Surgery is an effective and safe option to treat patients with pectoralis major tendon (PMT) ruptures, generally demonstrating a low risk of re-rupture and complications, according to research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    “At final follow-up with patients at an average of 71 days post-operation, 114 of 120 (95%) were able to return to their occupation at full capacity,” said lead author Michelle T. Sugi, MD, MPH, from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

    “We also only identified 3 instances of failed repair, which is notable for a study group of this size.”

    The study was performed at a multi-surgeon, multi-center, community-based, integrated health system and included 134 acute, subacute, and chronic traumatic pectoralis major tendon ruptures repaired surgically between 2008 and 2014. Surgical repair techniques included:

    • Suture anchors
    • Sutures through bone tunnels
    • Suture button
    • End-to-end suture repair
    • Biotenodesis screw

    Of 120 patients who reached final follow-up, 17 (13%) had a complication, including:

    • 4 infections
    • 5 cosmetic wound concerns
    • 1 transient neuropraxia
    • 2 fractures
    • 2 postoperative frozen shoulders
    • 3 failures

    Weight lifting was identified as the cause of injuries in 62% of the patients studied, followed by trauma in 18% of patients and martial arts in 9% of patients.

    “These ruptures are relatively uncommon, and we have limited research to understand the best treatment option,” Dr. Sugi said.

    “We hope our research can contribute to a better understanding of who is affected by these injuries, how to treat them, and how to address potential complications.”


    Sugi M, Acevedo M, Mirzayan R. Surgical Treatment of Pectoralis Major Tendon Ruptures: A Retrospective Review of 134 Patients Tendon Ruptures (paper 135). Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, July 20-23, 2017, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. All abstracts from the meeting can be found here.