Tendon transfer surgery is a procedure in which a functioning muscle-tendon unit is redirected to improve a lost function in another area. Tendon transfers are selected and performed to maximally improve the function in the area addressed, with minimal compromise at the donor site. The procedure is used to improve mobility of limb segments, stability of joints, or balance between muscle groups in patients who have suffered injuries or neuro-muscular disorders. Tendon transfers have become an essential tool in the field of limb reconstruction and usually is an adjunct to bone and joint reconstruction procedures
Indications for tendon transfers are very wide and are commonly employed in nerve or muscle injuries, paralysis, congenital deficiencies, and degenerative diseases:
While tendon transfers offer remarkable benefits, not all conditions can benefit from this procedure. Contraindications include:
The surgical approach to tendon transfers involves careful planning, skilful execution and a very scrupulous rehabilitation plan. A multidisciplinary team, including orthopaedic surgeons, neurophysiologists, physical and occupational therapists, and occasionally plastic surgeons collaborates to ensure the best possible outcomes for the patient.
Tendon transfer surgeries are highly specialised and technically demanding. Our team has extensive training and experience in performing these procedures successfully.
Preparing for tendon transfer surgery involves a thorough assessment of the patient’s medical history, physical condition, and expectations. It is important to inform us of any medical conditions and medications. The functional deficiencies are assessed and additional diagnostic imaging or neuromuscular tests might be also needed. Potential donor muscles are examined, this is followed by discussions with the surgical team about the procedure plan, potential risks, and anticipated outcomes. It is important for the patient to understand, that a completely normal function is never achievable with tendon transfer. Also, a functional improvement in one area is gained at the expense of partial functional loss at the donor site.
Regular follow-up appointments with the team will help monitor your progress and address any concerns:
After that, 3 months postop, 6 months postop, 1 year postop and further annual follow-up will be required.
A tailored rehabilitation program will help regain strength, flexibility, and mobility of the joint around which the tendon transfer was performed.
Recovery from tendon transfer surgery can take between 6 weeks to a year, and commitment to rehabilitation as well as follow-up appointments is essential for optimal outcomes. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance and recommendations.
If patients are worried about their level of pain, experience significant bleeding, or notice fever or redness around the surgical site, they should contact the office immediately. If assistance is needed after hours, patients can contact the hospital where the surgery was performed, and they will contact Professor Al Muderis on their behalf.
Norwest Private Hospital: (02) 8882 8882
Macquarie University Hospital: (02) 9812 3000