Tendon Repair

Definition

This is surgery to repair a damaged or torn tendon.

Repair of Tendons in the Left Shoulder

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Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is done when a torn tendon causes muscle weakness and loss of function.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Scar tissue forming and causing problems with movement
  • Partial loss of function or stiffness in the joint

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging for a ride to and from surgery
  • Tests that will need to be done before surgery, such as images

Anesthesia

The doctor may give:

  • General anesthesia—you will be asleep
  • Regional anesthesia—a region of the body will be numbed
  • Local anesthesia—the area will be numbed

Description of the Procedure

A cut will be made in the skin over the tendon. The torn ends of the tendon will be sewn together or reattached to the bone. Some people may need to have a tendon graft. This takes a piece of healthy tendon from another part of the body and uses it to reconnect the tendon. The incision will be closed with stitches. A bandage will be put over it.

How Long Will It Take?

How long it takes depends on where the tendon is located and how badly it is damaged.

Will It Hurt?

Pain and swelling are common in the first 1 to 2 weeks. Medicine and home care can help.

Average Hospital Stay

You may be able to go home the same day. If you have problems, you may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

Right after the procedure, the staff may:

  • Give you pain medicine
  • Support the tendon with a splint or cast

During your stay, staff will take steps to lower your chance of infection, such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered

You can also lower your chance of infection by:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
  • Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
  • Not letting others touch your incisions

At Home

It will take some time for full recovery with a gradual return to normal activity levels.

Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, more pain, a lot of bleeding, or leaking from the incision
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Skin that is cold, discolored, numb, or tingly
  • New or worsening symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

RESOURCES:

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
http://www.aossm.org
OrthoInfo—American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://orthoinfo.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Orthopaedic Association
http://www.coa-aco.org
Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

References:

Uquillas CA, Guss MS, et al. Everything Achilles: Knowledge Update and Current Concepts in Management: AAOS Exhibit Selection. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2015 Jul 15;97(14):1187-1195.
Achilles tendon rupture. Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.foothealthfacts.org/conditions/achilles-tendon-rupture. Accessed July 16, 2020.
Achilles tendon rupture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated April 8, 2020. Accessed July 16, 2020.
Rupture of the biceps tendon. Ortho Info—American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated December 2013. Accessed July 16, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated: 7/16/2020

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