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Tendon, nerve & vessel repair

Tendon repair refers to the surgical repair of damaged or torn tendons, which are cord-like structures made of strong fibrous connective tissue that connect muscles to bones. The shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle joints are the most commonly affected by tendon injuries.

Tendon injuries are widespread in the general adult population. They are more common among people whose occupations or recreational athletic activities require repetitive motion of the shoulder, knee, elbow, or ankle joints. Injuries to the tendons in the shoulder often occur among baseball players, window washers, violinists, dancers, carpenters, and some assembly line workers. Rowers are at increased risk for injuries to the forearm tendons. The repetitive stresses of classical ballet, running, and jogging may damage the Achilles tendon at the back of the heel. So-called tennis elbow, which occurs in many construction workers, highway crews, maintenance workers, and baggage handlers as well as professional golfers and tennis players, is thought to affect 5% of American adults over the age of 30.

Patients are asked to have someone drive them home after tendon repair surgery. Healing may take as long as 6 weeks, during which the injured part may be immobilized in a splint or cast. Patients are asked not to use the injured tendon until the physician gives permission. The physician will decide how long to rest the tendon. It should not be used for lifting heavy objects or walking. Patients are also asked to avoid driving until the physician gives the go-ahead. To reduce swelling and pain, they should keep the injured limb lifted above the level of the heart as much as possible for the first few days after surgery.