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Percutaneous Tenotomy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 6, 2023.

What is a percutaneous tenotomy?

Percutaneous tenotomy is a procedure used to cut or loosen a tendon. The procedure can relieve chronic pain from a shortened or tight tendon.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

  • Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare. He or she will tell you if it is okay to eat and drink anything before your procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you home.
  • Tell your provider about all your current medicines. Your provider will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of the procedure.
  • You may need an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI so your provider can check your tendon and the area around it. You may also need blood tests. Your provider will tell you when to get any needed tests.
  • Tell your provider if you have any allergies or had an allergic reaction to anesthesia.

What will happen during the procedure?

  • You will be given local anesthesia to help numb the area and prevent pain.
  • Your healthcare provider may put a blade through your skin over the tendon. He or she will make 2 or 3 cuts in the tendon. Your provider may instead put a needle into the tendon. He or she will move the needle in and out of the tendon several times. This helps loosen the tendon.
  • Your provider will move your arm or leg so the tendon is in the correct position. He or she may make a few adjustments if the movement is still limited.
  • The procedure area will be covered. A cast, brace, or splint may be placed on the limb to hold the tendon in the correct position.

What should I expect after the procedure?

  • Medicines may be given to prevent or treat pain or a bacterial infection.
  • You will be given instructions for activities to avoid after the procedure. The instructions will include when it is okay to put weight on your leg or use your arm.
  • Physical therapy may be started after the splint, cast, or brace is removed. A physical therapist can help you strengthen the limb and improve mobility and flexibility.

What are the risks of a percutaneous tenotomy?

You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. Nerves may be damaged. You may need an open tenotomy if the percutaneous procedure does not help with your pain.

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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