Tendon suturing and tendon transplants

If the tendon tear causes the ends of the tendon to be so far apart from each other that they cannot grow back together naturally, surgical intervention is often the only solution. If there is still sufficient healthy tissue available, the ends of the tendon can generally be sutured together directly (e.g. in the Achilles tendon).

We now have an array of materials available for this purpose that the body will gradually break down by itself over time. In cases where the function of the tendons cannot be restored with this approach, tendon transplant may be the solution. With this procedure, we remove a tendon or part of it from another area and use it to bridge the defect.

In some cases, a tendon can be positioned in a different location (tendon transposition) to take over the function of the injured tendon, e.g. following extensor tendon injuries to the thumb. Regardless of the type of operation, the joint must subsequently be rested with a plaster cast or special splints.

Treatment details

Duration of treatment: greatly dependent on the tendon injured, on average 45 minutes
In-patient stay: some procedures can be carried out as an outpatient, e.g. on the hand
Protection time: 3 to 6 weeks of rest
Physiotherapy: generally required
Time off work: depending on the injury and profession
Sports: after 4 – 6 months (e.g. Achilles tendon)