Hand tendon repair
Tendons connect muscles to the bones allowing bones to move. If these become damaged in the hand, movement may be lost and an operation may be needed to help correct this.
Tendons may become separated or damaged through accidents, animal bites, sports injuries or inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis.
This will be diagnosed through the person's symptoms, a physical examination and sometimes an X-ray or scan of the hand may be arranged.
The hand has two types of tendons: flexor tendons work on bending fingers and thumbs, while the extensor tendons help you straighten fingers and thumbs.
A surgeon will repair tendons by first making a cut in the skin of the hand, finger or wrist to find the ends of the tendons that need to be attached together again.
An operation on extensor tendons may be possible under local anaesthetic, while flexor tendon repair is usually more complicated and done under general or regional anaesthetic.
Aftercare instructions will be given after the operation. These will probably involve wearing a splint to protect the hand and some simple hand exercises to help with recovery. However, it can take up to 3 months to get back the usual strength in the hand. The success of the procedure may depend on the type and extent of the original damage to the tendons.
If tendons are too damaged to be reattached, surgeons may consider a procedure called tendon transfer, where tendon from a healthy finger is used for the repair.