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    Tendon repair

    Repair of tendon

    Tendon repair is surgery to repair damaged or torn tendons.

    Description

    Tendon repair can be performed using:

    • Local anesthesia (the immediate area of the surgery is pain-free)
    • Regional anesthesia (the local and surrounding areas are pain-free)
    • General anesthesia (the patient is asleep and pain-free)

    The surgeon makes a cut on the skin over the injured tendon. The damaged or torn ends of the tendon are sewn together.

    If the tendon has been severely injured, a tendon graft may be needed.

    • In this case, a piece of tendon from the foot, toe, or another part of the body is often used.
    • If needed, tendons are reattached to the surrounding tissue.
    • The surgeon examines the area to see if there any injuries to nerves and blood vessels. When complete, the wound is closed.

    If the tendon damage is too severe, the repair and reconstruction may have to be done at different times.

    The surgeon will perform one operation to repair part of the injury, and then allow the hand to heal for a few weeks. Another surgery will be later doneto complete the reconstruction and repair the tendon.

    Why the Procedure Is Performed

    The goal of tendon repair is to bring back normal function of joints or surrounding tissues following a tendon laceration.

    Risks

    Risks for any anesthesia include:

    • Reactions to medications
    • Problems breathing

    Risks for any surgery include:

    • Bleeding
    • Infection

    Additional risks for tendon repair surgery include:

    • Scar tissue formation that prevents smooth movements
    • Pain that does not go away
    • Partial loss of use in the involved joint
    • Stiffness of the joint

    After the Procedure

    Tendon repairs can often be done in an outpatient setting. Hospital stays, if any, are short.

    Healing may take 6 - 12 weeks. During that time the injured part may need to be kept still in a splint or cast. Typically, movement is returned gradually with therapy to protect the tendon as it heals.

    Treatment after surgery is often needed to minimize scar tissue and maximize the use of the injured area.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Most tendon repairs are successful with proper physical therapy, resulting in functional joint use.

    References

    Sokolove PE. Extensor and flexor tendon injuries in the hand, wrist, and foot. In: Roberts JR, Hedges JR, eds. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 48.

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    • Tendons and muscles

      illustration

      • Tendons and muscles

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Self Care

        Tests for Tendon repair

          Review Date: 8/11/2012

          Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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