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Tendon Repair

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What do I need to know about a tendon repair?

A tendon repair is surgery to fix a torn or ruptured tendon.

How do I prepare for a 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 to stop taking blood thinners or aspirin several days before your surgery. You may need an x-ray, ultrasound, or MRI before surgery. This will help your healthcare provider plan for your surgery. Arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery.

What will happen during a tendon repair?

  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. You may instead be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. If you are given local anesthesia, you may be awake during surgery. Your surgeon may ask you to move your arm or leg. This will let him or her see how well your tendon moves after it is fixed.
  • Your surgeon will make one or more incisions near your tendon. He or she will use multiple stitches to put your tendon together. Your surgeon may need to use a tendon from another part of your body. This tendon will be used to reattach your tendon to your bone. A second incision will be made where this tendon is taken. If a tendon in your finger is repaired, your surgeon may place a small button on the outside of your fingernail. The button will help hold your tendon and bone together. It will be removed at a later time. When your surgeon is finished, he or she will close your incision with stitches. A bandage will be placed over your incision. A splint or cast will also be placed around your arm or leg.

What will happen after a tendon repair?

Healthcare providers will monitor you until you are awake. You may be able to go home when your pain is controlled. You may need to wear a cast or splint for several weeks after surgery. You will need to go to physical therapy.

What are the risks of a tendon repair?

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Blood vessels, nerves, or muscles may be damaged during surgery. You may continue to have weakness or trouble moving your affected body part. The stitches used to repair your tendon may come apart. Your tendon may separate from your bone. You may need more surgery to fix these problems.

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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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