Minimally invasive Achilles tendon surgery reduces complications

February 10, 2015 by Jim Ritter, Loyola University Health System

Brian Frias was rounding second base and heading to third when he heard a sharp snap in his Achilles tendon.

"I went down like a sack of potatoes," he said.

Orthopaedic surgeon Adam Schiff, MD, of Loyola University Medical Center, used a new minimally to the ruptured Achilles tendon on Mr. Frias' left leg. The technique requires a smaller incision, minimizes wound healing complications and leaves less scar tissue.

"I would totally recommend the surgery," Mr. Frias said.

Conventional surgical repair of a ruptured Achilles tendon requires a vertical incision five or six inches long. The minimally invasive technique requires a 1 to 1.5 inch horizontal incision that is perpendicular to the Achilles tendon. The surgeon uses a device that allows for most of the repair work to be done outside the body, resulting in a less-invasive approach.

"It's the new trend in foot and ankle surgery," Dr. Schiff said. "For those who qualify, the minimally invasive approach has been very successful."

Achilles tendon rupture is a common injury that typically occurs while running or jumping. Most injuries are sports related, although ruptures also can be caused by workplace injuries or trauma. The typical patient is a middle-age male weekend warrior.

If treated within 48 hours, a ruptured Achilles tendon can be treated non-operatively by wearing a cast for six to eight weeks and then undergoing functional rehabilitation.

Surgical repair reduces the risk of re-rupturing the Achilles, and enables patients to return to work or sports earlier.

The minimally invasive surgical technique is not appropriate for all patients, and it must be done within a week or two of the injury. As in non-surgical repairs, the patient spends four to six weeks in a cast and then undergoes functional rehabilitation.

After completing rehab, Mr. Frias returned to work as a hotel chef, where he is on his feet and does a lot of walking and climbing stairs. He said his repaired Achilles is as good as new. "I'm 500 percent satisfied."

Explore further: Achilles tendon injuries more likely in male 'Weekend Warriors' than others

Related Stories

Achilles tendon injuries more likely in male 'Weekend Warriors' than others

April 24, 2013
Male athletes are the group most likely to tear their Achilles tendon, according to a new study published in the April 2013 issue of Foot & Ankle International (FAI). The activity most likely to cause the injury was basketball, ...

Stem cells inside sutures could improve healing in Achilles tendon injuries

March 12, 2014
Researchers have found that sutures embedded with stem cells led to quicker and stronger healing of Achilles tendon tears than traditional sutures, according to a new study published in the March 2014 issue of Foot & Ankle ...

Nonsurgical repair of achilles tendon may be preferable

December 12, 2012
(HealthDay)—Although surgical repair of a ruptured Achilles tendon is thought to reduce the risk of rerupture, nonsurgical management shows similar rerupture rates when functional rehabilitation with early range of motion ...

Surgery may not be necessary for Achilles tendon rupture

May 14, 2009
The two ends of a ruptured Achilles tendon are often stitched together before the leg is put in plaster, in order to reduce the risk of the tendon rupturing again. However, Katarina Nilsson Helander, MD, PhD at the Sahlgrenska ...

One-third of NFL players with Achilles tendon injuries sidelined

January 12, 2010
Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC (January 12, 2010) More than a third of National Football League (NFL) players who sustained an Achilles tendon injury were never able to return to professional ...

New methods enable the early detection of Achilles tendon damage

January 31, 2012
Two biochemical methods, developed at the Centre of Excellence for High Field Magnetic Resonance at the MedUni Vienna by Vladimir Juras from the University Department of Radiodiagnostics, are enabling Achilles tendon damage ...

Recommended for you

Amount of weight regain after bariatric surgery helps predict health risks

October 16, 2018
Measuring the percentage of weight regained following the maximum amount of weight lost after bariatric surgery can help predict a patient's risk of several serious health problems, according to a long-term, multicenter study ...

Technique to 'listen' to a patient's brain during tumour surgery

October 16, 2018
Surgeons could soon eavesdrop on a patient's brain activity during surgery to remove their brain tumour, helping improve the accuracy of the operation and reduce the risk of impairing brain function.

Researchers link gut bacteria to heart transplant success or failure

October 4, 2018
In a new study, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have found that the gut microbiome appears to play a key role in how well the body accepts a transplanted heart. The scientists found a ...

Focus on neuroscience, nociception to improve anesthesia, paper says

October 1, 2018
People sometimes mistakenly think of general anesthesia as just a really deep sleep but in fact, anesthesia is really four brain states—unconsciousness, amnesia, immobility and suppression of the body's damage sensing response, ...

Bariatric surgery linked to safer childbirth for the mother

September 27, 2018
Obese mothers who lose weight through bariatric surgery can have safer deliveries. The positive effects are many, including fewer caesarean sections, infections, tears and haemorrhages, and fewer cases of post-term delivery ...

Antibiotics for appendicitis? Surgery often not needed

September 25, 2018
When emergency tests showed the telltale right-sided pain in Heather VanDusen's abdomen was appendicitis, she figured she'd be quickly wheeled into surgery. But doctors offered her the option of antibiotics instead.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.