Tendon release, also known as tenotomy, is a surgical procedure that involves cutting through or disconnecting a tendon to allow for a greater range of movement.
The procedure is used to relieve tight or shortened muscles. In some cases, the tendon is re-routed to maintain muscle function.
This procedure is usually reserved for conditions that don’t respond well to conservative nonsurgical treatments. Tendon release surgery is ideal for infants with clubfoot, or for older patients who develop tightened or shortened muscles due to cerebral palsy or other neuromuscular disorders. It is also used for a number of other common conditions including hammer toe, tennis elbow and injuries to the Achilles tendon.
Ideal candidates for tendon release surgery are those who have a condition that doesn’t respond to non-surgical options such as casts, splints, or stretching exercises.
Tendon release has a high success rate, and most people regain the full use of their muscles after the procedure.
The Purpose of the Treatment
Tendon release is used to lengthen a muscle-tendon unit that has shortened or developed improperly.
It also treats pain, deformity, and other related issues that are associated with muscle shortening.
If a muscle is left in a constrained position for too long, it can become shortened or resistant to stretching. When this happens, the tendon and the muscle itself can develop fibrous tissue which will prevent it from stretching. At Rebound, our specialists may use tendon release to correct common conditions like hammer toe and tennis elbow or other sports-related injuries.
This combination of changes is known as contracture, and can also occur in patients who have experienced traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, or cerebral palsy.
The purpose of a tenotomy is to lengthen the tendon and allow the muscle to return to its normal positioning.
The Treatment Process
In most cases, a tendon release is performed by making an incision in the skin near the location of the tendon. The surgeon then carefully pulls away fat, muscle, and tissue to expose the tendon. He or she then carefully cuts along the length of the tendon, allowing it to stretch. This also allows the muscle to stretch as well. Depending on the procedure, the tendon may then be reattached in another location. While tendon release can be performed on any tendon in the body, the most common areas are the wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle tendons.
Tendons that are located near the surface, such as the Achilles’ tendon, are easier to reach and can be released quickly with a simple incision. However, other tendons, such as those in the hip or wrists, usually require a more invasive procedure.
Tendon release surgery may be performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the muscle’s location. If multiple joints require surgery, they can often be addressed at the same time.
Results of Tendon Release Surgery
Tendon release surgery allows the muscle to stretch out, allowing the joint to have a fuller range of motion. Although some strength will be lost, the release will help to promote better posture and range of movement. In some cases, it can even improve the patient’s ability to walk, stand, and perform other activities.
While it may take several months before the patient is able to engage in strenuous activities –most patients experience immediate pain relief. Talk with a qualified surgeon to learn more, or to see if you are a candidate for tendon release surgery.
For more information on tendon release surgery, or to book a consultation, contact Rebound today by calling 1-800-REBOUND or using our online booking form to schedule an appointment.