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This is surgery to repair a damaged or torn tendon.
A tendon attaches muscle to bone. If a tendon tears, the muscle will no longer be able to work properly. This will cause weakness or loss of function. Reattaching the tendon can fix the weakness and improve function.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems like:
If your age is 60 years or older, it may increase risk of complications. Other factors include:
Your doctor will perform a physical exam. You may also need some tests. These may include:
Leading up to the procedure:
Depending on where the tendon is located, you may be given:
A cut will be made in the skin over the injured tendon. The torn ends of the tendon will be sewn together or reattached to the bone. If you have a severe injury, a tendon graft may be needed. In this case, a piece of healthy tendon will be taken from another part of the body. This healthy tendon will be used to reconnect the broken tendon. The area will be examined for injuries to nerves and blood vessels. Lastly, the incision will be closed with stitches.
You may be put in a splint or cast. This is to keep the injured area in position for proper healing. The splint or cast will usually stay on for a period of weeks.
This depends on where the tendon is located and the severity of the injury.
Anesthesia will keep you pain-free and comfortable during the procedure. To reduce pain after the procedure, your doctor may recommend pain medication.
After the procedure, you will be in a recovery room. The staff will monitor your progress. You may also get pain medication.
You will start physical therapy soon after surgery.
When you return home, take these steps:
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications such as:
In case of an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
OrthoInfo—American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Rheumatology Association
Achilles tendon rupture. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Foot Health Facts website. Available at:
Accessed February 12, 2016.
Achilles tendon rupture. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116632/Achilles-tendon-rupture. Updated March 21, 2016. Accessed October 10, 2016.
Rupture of the biceps tendon. American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00031. Updated May 2009. Accessed February 12, 2016.
Last reviewed March 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
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