Extensor Tendon Repair
What is an extensor tendon injury?
Tendons are strong, flexible bands of connective tissue that attach muscles to bones. They play an extremely important role in the function of the hand and injury to the tendons can cause loss of hand function. The degree and severity of impairment depends on which specific tendon or tendons are injured. Common classes of tendons that suffer injury are the extensor tendons, which straighten out the fingers. The most serious of tendon injuries is a ruptured tendon, where there is a complete separation of a tendon into two parts. This type of injury is usually the result of trauma.
To repair a ruptured tendon involves making an incision, locating both ends of the tendon, and suturing them back together. If a rupture is left untreated, the two tendon ends shorten over time, making repair more difficult as more time passes. This surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you will be able to go home on the same day of the surgery.
Things to know:
- You will be discharged in a temporary splint that must be kept clean and dry until you are seen for follow up.
- You will follow up with us in the office 1-2 days after the procedure. You will be sent for a custom splint that is removable for showering ONLY.
- After 48 hours you may shower. While showering, you may use soap and water, but be sure to pat the incision dry. It is important that you do not submerge your surgical incision in water (i.e. no bath tubs, swimming pools, washing dishes, etc.). While showering, it is important you do not use your hand/arm. After showering, pat incision dry and replace splint.
- It is important to elevate your arm on a couple of pillows to alleviate pain and swelling.
- Sutures will remain in place for 10-14 days.
- Typically follow up appointments are scheduled in two-week intervals following surgery, so we can monitor your recovery.
- You will keep the splint on for 4 weeks, and then begin occupational/physical therapy.
- The splint will gradually be discontinued in the weeks to follow as you progress with occupational therapy. Your lifting restrictions will gradually be increased over the next 2-3 months.
Postoperative restrictions are as follows:
- NO use of the affected hand.
- Must wear splint at all times, except while showering.