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Achilles Tendon Repair

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about an Achilles tendon repair?

An Achilles tendon repair is surgery to fix a torn or ruptured Achilles tendon.

How do I prepare for an Achilles tendon repair?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You may need an ultrasound or MRI a few days before your surgery. This will help your healthcare provider plan your surgery. Arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery.

What will happen during an Achilles tendon repair?

  • You will be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may also be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection. Your healthcare provider may make one large incision over your Achilles tendon. Instead, he or she may make several small incisions near your Achilles tendon. The ends of your Achilles tendon will be stitched together.
  • Your healthcare provider may need to use a graft to help connect the ends of your Achilles tendon. A graft is a piece of another tendon or artificial material. He or she will close your skin with stitches and place a bandage over your incision. A cast or splint will be placed over your foot and leg. This will help keep your tendon from moving and help it heal.

What will happen after an Achilles tendon repair?

Healthcare providers will monitor you until you are awake. Your leg may feel numb for 8 to 24 hours after your surgery. This is caused by numbing medicine that was injected into your leg during surgery. When your healthcare provider says it is okay to get out of bed, do not put pressure on your leg. Your cast will stay on for at least 2 weeks. You will need physical therapy after your tendon has time to heal. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

What are the risks of an Achilles tendon repair?

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Nerves or blood vessels may be damaged during surgery. Your Achilles tendon may rupture again and you may need another surgery to fix it. You may get a blood clot in your leg, heart, or lungs. This may become life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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