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Procedures

Flexor Tendon Repair

General Information

Tendons allow you to move your hand and fingers around, and the flexor tendons are responsible for providing movement to the fingers. Where there is damage to a tendon, you can lose your ability to move or extend the finger. A flexor tendon repair attempts to re-attach the tendon together or back to the bone to restore movement in the hand and fingers. While such a procedure can help restore partial mobility to the hands or fingers, regaining full use of the extremity is a slow process, and in some cases, the hand or finger may no longer stretch or bend, as you were once able to do.

Reasons for Flexor Tendon Repair

Lacerations or traumas to the hand are the leading cause of damaged tendons. Since the tendons attach to the bone, they are close to the skin and risk being cut during any type of accident. Sports injuries can also damage tendons, especially when there is blunt force trauma involved.

Diagnosis

To determine if you have a tendon injury, your physician will inspect the area and complete a physical exam. During the exam, you may be asked to move your hand or fingers to determine the extent of the pain or damage. Your physician will also check your hand or fingers for strength levels, sensation or blood flow. If you have a severe tendon injury, your physician will refer you to a hand specialist or orthopedist to remedy the injury.

Surgery

In the event you need surgery, the procedure will be completed with the following steps:

  • Local anesthetic is administered to the area
  • Small incision is made over the torn tendon
  • The edges of the tendon will be re-attached with sutures, or will be sewn back onto the muscle
  • A splint will be used on the hand to keep the area immobile during healing time

What to Expect

Healing time depends on the severity of the injury, and physical therapy is prescribed to help you regain use of your hand or finger. In most cases, there is some loss of movement in the hand or finger, though with time and physical therapy substantial movement is possible.