Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

I had surgery two weeks ago to repair a tendon in my first finger. I've been told how to move it to prevent scarring but I'm afraid to move it. What if I ruin the surgery? What if the tendon ruptures again?

Answer:

Tendon rupture after surgery to repair a tendon problem certainly can happen. This happens in about four to six per cent of cases. Surgeons don't always know why it happens. Sometimes it's poor surgical technique or too aggressive therapy afterwards. Many times it's because the patient doesn't follow the surgeon's directions.

For example, the patient who removes the splint, lifts heavy objects, and/or tries to make a strong grip to lift or hold things is at increased risk for tendon rupture. The tendon is especially vulnerable to reinjury between days six and 18. Reports of tendon rupture have been made as late as six or seven weeks after the operation.

The best way to have a good post-operative result is to follow your surgeon's advice carefully. Ask questions if you don't understand the directions given for use of the splint or how to do the exercises. In the case of tendon repairs, motion is lotion. Early movement of the wrist and hand gives the best results. Soma I. Lilly, MD, and Terry M. Messer, MD. Complications After Treatment of Flexor Tendon Injuries. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. July 2006. Vol. 14. No. 7. Pp. 387-396.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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