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Tendon Transfer Surgery

 

Tendon transfer is a hand surgery procedure that is performed to restore loss of function of the hand or upper extremities. This type of surgery involves shifting a functioning tendon from its original attachment to another site to restore lost action.

A tendon is a nerve-like stretchy band that attaches the muscle to the bone. If the nerve that supplies the muscle is injured or damaged beyond repair, the muscle loses its action. Tendon transfer surgery can restore lost action to the damaged muscle.

Candidate for Tendon Transfer Surgery

An individual may require tendon transfer surgery to restore lost function of the tendons or muscles due to:

  • Muscle injury
  • Nerve injury (cut, torn, or stretched nerve)
  • Birth defects in babies who are born without certain muscle function
  • Neuromuscular disorder (stroke, cerebral palsy, spinal muscle atrophy, or traumatic brain injuries).
  • Rheumatoid arthritis which is an inflammatory disease that affects the muscles, joints, and bones).

Risks of Tendon Transfer Surgery

The risks of tendon transfer surgery are rare but include:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Repair failure
  • Hand deformity
  • Tendon adhesion (tendons getting stuck to the tissue thus losing their range of movement)
  • Injury to the nearby blood vessels, tendons, or nerves
  • Swelling
  • Hand stiffness
  • Hand weakness

Tendon Transfer Procedure

The hand has a number of muscles attached to the bone by tendons. Each muscle has a different function and it also has an origin (starting point) and it reduces its thickness down from its muscle belly into a specific tendon that attaches onto bone in a specific place. When the muscle contracts (fires) it causes a certain action (motion). When a muscle is injured or damaged, its movement is hampered.

A tendon transfer surgery can restore lost function by replacing the damaged muscles and tendons with healthy working ones.

The surgery may be performed under either general anesthesia (you are asleep) or mild sedation depending on the severity of the damage and the extent of the repair needed.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision and harvests the tendon of an extra muscle from a different part of the body. The harvested tendon is then stitched to the tendon of the muscle that lost its function. This restores function to the injured muscle. Sometimes more than one tendon transfer may be required.

Recovery After Tendon Transfer Surgery

The transferred tendon is protected by a splint or cast as it heals in its new position. The recovery period is about one to two months during which the patient has to undergo physical therapy to restore optimal function.

Get in Touch

Reconstructive surgery at Kings College Hospital Dubai focuses on the safety and care of every patient in a compassionate environment with state-of-the-art facilities. To book an online or in-person consultation and a detailed evaluation by one of our world class plastic and reconstructive surgeons in Dubai, get in touch using the contact details given, and our patient-care staff will book an appointment for you.

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