Reconstruction of Achilles Tendon
The reconstruction of the Achilles tendon is a surgical procedure performed to repair a ruptured or severely damaged Achilles tendon.
The Achilles tendon is the large tendon at the back of the ankle that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.
When is a Reconstruction of Achilles Tendon Necessary?
The following are some common situations where this procedures may be recommended:
· Complete Achilles tendon rupture: When the Achilles tendon tears completely, causing a gap between the torn ends, surgery is often necessary to reattach and repair the tendon.
· Failed non-surgical treatment: If non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy do not lead to proper healing or if the tendon re-ruptures after initial healing, surgical intervention may be required.
· Recurrent or multiple tendon ruptures: In cases where an individual has experienced multiple Achilles tendon ruptures, reconstruction may be recommended to provide long-term stability and reduce the risk of further tendon injuries.
How is This Procedure Done?
This procedure is usually done in 2 hours under general anesthesia, meaning you’ll be asleep during surgery.
The surgery involves making a single incision at the back of the ankle. There are two common methods of Achilles tendon reconstruction:
FHL Tendon Transfer: The FHL tendon, which facilitates the bending of the big toe, will be surgically divided at the back of the ankle and relocated into the heel bone through a bone tunnel. It is secured using a non-metallic screw.
V-Y Advancement and Repair: In this method, the calf muscle is lengthened above the torn tendon by releasing a fibrous membrane. This process enables the torn ends of the tendon to be brought together and repaired. Finally, the incision is closed using dissolvable stitches.
Recovery After Surgery
Commonly, patients can go home on the same day of surgery. You will feel tired and will experience some swelling in your leg and ankle.
During the first two weeks, you will be recommended to not apply any pressure on the treated ankle, and to elevate your leg as much as possible to help reduce swelling and your wound to heal.
You will also have to get physical therapy to help with the healing process. As healing progresses, therapy will transition to strengthening exercises to rebuild the strength of the calf muscles and improve your ankle’s function.
Follow closely your doctor’s instructions during your recovery period to help you regain function and achieve successful healing in your Achilles tendon.