Tendon Repair

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Evolution of Tendon Repair

Tendon repair is generally performed in one of two ways: the ends of a tendon are reattached together, or the end of a tendon is attached to bone. Modern tendon repair surgery was first described in the early 20th century with the advent of “locking” sutures to re-connect tendon ends. Multiple different suture configurations and materials have since been used. Methods of attaching tendon to bone were described in the mid-20th century.

When a tendon is attached to bone, one end of the suture is attached to the end of the tendon. A hole is drilled through the bone and the other end of the suture is brought through the bone to come out on the other side. The suture is then anchored down on the other side of the bone, and the tendon ends up drawn up against the bone. Other methods used screws, washers, or staples to attach tendon to bone.

These methods required a large area of bone as an insertion site and involved significant patient discomfort. Another method of attaching tendon to bone was developed in the mid 1980’s. It involved placing an “anchor” within the bone that would be used to attach suture, and with it a tendon, to the bone.

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