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Tendon Repair Surgery, Recovery time, complications, symptoms, Cost

  • Posted on- Jan 31, 2018
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Recovery and care after tendon repair surgery

Tendon repair surgery is a medical procedure done to treat a torn or damaged tendon. Tendons are the soft, band-like tissues that relate muscles to bone. When the muscles contract, the tendons pull the bones and cause the joints to move.

When tendon damage occurs, the movement may be seriously limited. The damaged area may feel weak or painful.

The surgery is helpful for people who are facing tendon injuries, the injury makes it difficult for them to move a joint and it is very painful.

Common reasons for tendon repair surgery.

Tendon repair surgery is done to bring back normal movement to a joint. Tendon injury may occur anywhere in the body where there are tendons present. Some of the joints that are most commonly affected by tendon injuries are the shoulders, elbows, ankles, knees, and fingers.

A tendon injury may occur from a laceration (cut) that goes past the skin and through the tendon. A tendon injury can also be caused by sports injuries such as football, wrestling, and rugby.

Tendon damage can also occur in rheumatoid arthritis, it is an inflammatory disease of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can involve the tendons, causing them to tear.

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How is tendon repair surgery done?

Generally, during tendon repair surgery, a surgeon will:

  • make one or more small incisions (cuts) in the skin over the damaged tendon.
  • sew the torn ends of the tendon together.
  • test the neighboring tissues to make sure no other injuries have occurred, such as injury to the blood vessels or nerves.
  • close the incision.
  • cover the area with sterile bandages or dressings.
  • immobilize or splint the joint so as to allow the tendon to heal.

The surgeon can perform a tendon graft using a piece of tendon from another part of the body if there are not enough healthy tendons present to reconnect. For example, it can be from the foot or toe. On occasion, a tendon transfer (moving a tendon from one area to another) may be useful in restoring function.

Anesthesia is used to lower down the pain. The types of anesthesia are:

    Local anesthesia

The area where the tendon repair surgery is to be performed is numbed and pain-free.

    Regional anesthesia

The neighboring area and the area where the tendon repair surgery is to be performed are numbed and made pain-free.

    General anesthesia

The patient is unconscious (asleep) and unable to feel pain.

Risks associated with tendon repair surgery

Some of the risks associated with tendon repair surgery include:

  • Sar tissue, which may form and it prevents the joints from moving smoothly
  • Some loss of joint use
  • The stiffness of the joint
  • Re-tearing of the tendon

Risks for anesthesia include reaction to medication such as difficulty breathing, rash, or itching. Risks for surgery, in general, include bleeding and infection.

Recovery and care after tendon repair surgery

Tendon repair surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis. This generally means the patient can go home after the surgery. If the patient does stay in the hospital, it’s usually for a short period of time.

Healing can take up to 12 weeks. The injured tendon should be supported with a splint or cast to take tension off of the repaired tendon.

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Physical therapy or occupational therapy is generally needed to return the movement in a very safe manner. The patient can expect a movement to return gradually, with some stiffness.

The patient may need treatment after the tendon repair surgery to minimize scar tissue. Too much scar tissue can make it difficult to move the damaged tendon.

Tendon repair surgery outlook

Tendon repair surgery can be very successful if it is done along with proper physical therapy or occupational therapy. As a general rule, the earlier tendon repair surgery is done after the injury, the easier the surgery is and the easier the recovery.

In some cases, long-term complications may develop. Stiffness may be long-lasting. Different tendon injuries like the injury to the flexor tendon in the arm can be very difficult to repair.

Before tendon repair surgery, have a talk with the doctor discuss potential outcomes so that the patient has a realistic view of his individual outlook.

Which are the different tests that have to be performed before tendon repair surgery?

Some of the different tests which have to be performed before tendon repair surgery are:

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