Many of us take being able to move our bodies for granted and it is only when we suffer from an injury or condition that prevents us from doing so, that we realize quite how much of an impact being able to do so has on our lives. There are lots of different elements within our bodies that facilitate movement, including tendons.
Tendons are the strong cord-like structures at either end of the muscle. Attached to the bone, their purpose, along with your muscles, is to enable you to move your joints. When a tendon is adversely affected, it can limit or completely prevent natural movement. When a tendon becomes damaged in any way, surgery to repair it may be needed to restore the proper function of the affected area. There are also a number of other conditions that can potentially benefit from surgery involving the tendons. This is normally a procedure known as tendon transfer surgery.
As its name suggests, tendon transfer surgery is an operation that involves shifting a tendon from its original attachment to a new one.
When Might Tendon Transfer Surgery Be Needed?
There are a number of scenarios in which tendon transfer surgery might be recommended for a patient. Some of the most common include the following:
To repair a nerve injury
There are lots of reasons why a nerve might become injured and damaged. However, if it does it can prevent the proper transmission of signals to the muscles, causing them to function incorrectly or, in some cases, to become paralyzed. Tendon transfer surgery can repair the nerve, enabling those muscles to work properly again. This technique can be used in everything from treating a spinal cord injury to restoring hand and wrist function.
Tendon transfer surgery can be used when a muscle has ruptured or been lacerated and cannot be repaired. Most common muscle or tendon injuries that are treated with tendon transfer surgery are tendon ruptures due to rheumatoid arthritis or fractures.
Nervous System disorders
There are some diseases that prevent nerves from functioning as they should. These are more commonly known as nervous system disorders and in many cases, they prevent nerve signals from being sent to the muscles. Good examples of these include cerebral palsy and stroke. In these instances, the goal of tendon transfer surgery is to ensure that the muscles in the body are properly aligned, and this helps to reduce pain and mobility problems.
What To Expect From Tendon Transfer Surgery?
Tendon transfer surgery is often performed using a general anesthetic, but it may be possible for you to have sedation combined with a local anesthetic instead. This will be discussed with you ahead of your procedure.
Once you have received the appropriate anesthesia, our surgical team will use a scalpel to make incisions into the skin to release the tendon and transfer it to its new position. Here it will be reattached using sutures and left to heal. The wounds will also be closed using sutures.
It is normal not to notice an improvement immediately. It can take several months for the tendon to heal to its new position and once this has happened, you will likely need some physical therapy to regain mobility again. It is essential that you follow the post-operative instructions given to you by our surgical team as this will minimize your risk of developing complications and ensure that you achieve the best possible result from your surgery.
To find out if you are a suitable candidate for tendon transfer surgery, please get in touch with our expert hand surgery team by calling Clark Plastic & Hand Surgery in Dallas, TX today 469-675-3659.