Tendon repair is an open surgical procedure in which the fibrous connective tissue that attaches muscles to bones is sutured together after lacerating or tearing injuries have compromised joint movement.
The hand is comprised of three groups of tendons:
- Flexor Tendons – the flexor tendons run from your forearm through your wrist and across of the bones of your hand and allow you to bend your fingers and thumb.
- Extensor Tendons – the extensor tendons allow you to straighten your fingers and thumb,
running from the forearm, across the back of your hand to your fingers and thumb.
- Intrinsic Tendons – small but important muscles that originate in the hand adding strength and dexterity to each digit.
Both the flexor tendons which bend the fingers and the extensor tendons that straighten the fingers may require repair anywhere from the fingers to the forearm. Intrinsic tendons can be injured requiring treatment to optimize functional recovery.
Seek Tendon Repair When You Cannot Straighten or Bend Your Fingers
You will know if you have flexor tendon damage if you cannot bend one or more fingers. Damage to the extensor tendon results in the inability to straighten your fingers. You may also experience pain and swelling in her hand. Intrinsic tendon injury can cause weakness and decreased mobility and dexterity.
Some tendon damage can be treated without surgery, so a splint is used around the hand to treat the injury.
Causes of Severe Tendon Injury that Require Treatment
- Sports injuries: Tendon ruptures and strains can happen when jamming a finger or suffering a forceful pull during strenuous gripping.
- Cuts: Deep cuts across the palm or back of your hand or wrist.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Causes inflammation of tendons.
- Crushing Accident: Dropped dumbbells, hand slammed in door.
- Animal Bites: Attacks from animals.
- Physical Altercations: Punching and human bites.
- Fractures: Secondary to physical tendon trauma, or loss of blood flow to the tendon can cause severe damage.
Tendon Repair Surgery
Expeditious surgery improves outcome. Incisions are made in the hand, wrist, or finger to locate both ends of the injured tendon so that repairs can be made with stitches. Flexor and extensor tendon repairs require a trained hand surgeon. Sometimes a Silastic artificial tendon is used temporarily to reconstruct the sheath or tube within which the tendon glides inside the finger, when there is scarring or delay.
Safe rapid mobilization protocols are used on an individual basis. Postoperative care includes temporary immobilization or limited mobilization with a splint and occupational therapy. Both extensor and flexor tendon repairs may require several months for recovery while the tendons regain strength and movement.
Call hand surgeon, Dr. Pruzansky, 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment to keep your hand, wrist and fingers healthy.