Achilles Tendon Repair
Achilles tendon repair is a surgical procedure to fix a damaged Achilles tendon through an incision made in the back of your calf. Your tendon will be stitched together if it is ruptured or, if it has degenerated, your surgeon may remove the damaged portion and repair the rest. In some cases, there is significant damage to a major portion of the tendon. In those cases, your Achilles tendon may be replaced with a tendon taken from your foot.
At A Glance: Achilles Tendon Repair
Also Known As
Achilles Tendon Repair
Typical Recovery Time
Typical Price Range
Tell Me About The Surgery
Procedure Research and Consultation
How is Achilles tendon repair surgery done?
You will be anesthetized during your Achilles tendon repair surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision in your calf and remove the parts of your tendon that are damaged or repair a tear in your tendon. If you have severe damage to much of your tendon, your surgeon might remove another tendon from your foot and use it to replace most or all of your Achilles tendon. When the repairs are complete, your surgeon will close your incision with sutures. (If you have minimally invasive surgery, your incision will be smaller.)
What issue does Achilles tendon repair surgery solve?
Achilles tendon repair surgery will repair a torn or ruptured tendon. It is also recommended if you suffer from tendinopathy, a painful condition that is the result of overuse.
What is minimally invasive surgery?
Minimally invasive surgeries involve smaller incisions and a less-invasive technique, shortening recovery time.
Do I have options for anesthesia?
General anesthesia is most common for this procedure, but a spinal anesthetic is also an option.
How do I know Achilles tendon repair surgery is right for me?
You might be a good candidate for Achilles tendon repair surgery if your Achilles tendon is torn or ruptured.
How safe is Achilles tendon repair surgery?
In general, severe complications from Achilles tendon surgery are rare. You should also know that Hancock Regional Hospital has been rated one of the safest hospitals in America by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog organization; and was named the safest hospital in Indiana on the Lown Institute Hospital Index.
What are the possible side effects and complications of Achilles tendon repair surgery?
Some of the possible side effects and complications of Achilles tendon repair surgery are ongoing pain in your foot and ankle, infection, bleeding, blood clots, wound healing problems, and weakness in the calf.
What are the possible side effects of general anesthesia?
Some of the possible side effects include nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, bruising (from the IV), itching, shivering and feeling cold, difficulty urinating, and sleepiness. In older patients, memory loss and temporary confusion are possible.
What are the alternatives to Achilles tendon repair surgery?
The alternatives to Achilles tendon repair surgery include immobilization with a cast, walking boot, brace, or something else that keeps your lower leg and ankle from moving so the tendon can reconnect and heal.
What are the risks of not having Achilles tendon repair surgery?
The risks of not having Achilles tendon repair surgery are another rupture, permanent nerve damage, and deep vein thrombosis—when a blood clot forms in a deep vein.
What kind of outcome is typical for Achilles tendon repair surgery?
Most people who have Achilles tendon repair surgery are able to return to all the activities they were used to before their injury, including sports.
Consultation and Choosing A Surgeon or Surgical Team
Do I need a referral to see a surgeon?
You don’t need a referral to see a surgeon about Achilles tendon repair surgery.
What should I bring to my first appointment with a surgeon?
Medical records, including your medical history, from your primary care physician Insurance information A complete list of all medications you take on a regular basis, including any over-the-counter medication. Your most recent diagnostic labs and imaging (Not sure where to go? Check out Gateway Hancock Health, where you’ll be able to get in and out quickly and pay, on average, 70% less than you’ll pay at a hospital.)
Do I have to get a second or third opinion?
You can always get a second or third opinion, but it isn’t required.
How should I decide which surgeon’s advice to follow?
You should work with the surgeon with whom you feel most comfortable, whether that’s one of our surgeons or not.
Will the surgical team know my health history?
Your health history will be compiled and available to the team before, during, and after surgery. If you’re a Hancock Health patient, we will be able to access your records within our system. If you aren’t, we will work with your doctors to get the necessary information.
Why might I have to wait to schedule Achilles tendon repair replacement surgery?
In some cases, it takes time for a patient’s body to be ready for surgery. For example, if you have another medical issue, including another surgical procedure or an illness, we might wait to schedule your Achilles tendon repair surgery. Your health and safety are our top priority, so we schedule surgeries when they’re best for our patients.
What happens if my symptoms get worse while I wait for Achilles tendon repair surgery?
Your surgical team will evaluate the situation and help you make a choice that’s right for you and your health. Temporary treatments might be used if your surgery is rescheduled.
Insurance & Cost
How much does Achilles tendon repair surgery cost?
Consult the price transparency tool at HancockRegionalHospital.org for an idea of how much PEG tube placement surgery might cost.
Will insurance cover Achilles tendon repair surgery?
In most cases, insurance will cover most of the costs associated with Achilles tendon repair surgery. To obtain an estimate for your possible out-of-pocket expenses, use our Price Estimator Tool.
Will Medicare cover total Achilles tendon repair surgery?
Medicare parts A and B will cover the cost of joint fusion surgery, but it’s important for your doctor to indicate that the surgery is medically necessary.
What are payment options like for Achilles tendon repair surgery at Hancock Health?
Hancock Health is committed to helping make great care affordable for all patients. To find out more about payment options for your Achilles tendon repair surgery, please visit the billing and insurance FAQ page at HancockRegionalHospital.org.
Pre-op and Day of Surgery
How should I prepare for Achilles tendon repair surgery?
Tell your care team about all of the medications you take, including over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements. You may need to stop taking some of them before your surgery. If you smoke, you may be asked to stop before your surgery. You’ll also probably be instructed not to eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
Why can’t I eat before surgery?
There’s a risk of aspiration, which means you’re breathing in foreign objects, like food or saliva, into your lungs. This can occur because the anesthetic for surgery can impair your body’s ability to stop the contents of your stomach from entering your lungs.
What should I expect right before Achilles tendon repair surgery?
You’ll arrive several hours before your surgery and be escorted to the preoperative waiting area. You’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry, and put on a hospital gown. (Your valuables will be placed in a secure area or may be given to a family member.) You’ll sign any necessary paperwork and a preoperative nurse will take your vital signs, review your medications, and answer any questions. You’ll meet your anesthesiologist and the members of your surgery team. They will mark the location of your surgery on your body. An IV (intravenous line) will be placed in your hand or arm, so medications—including general anesthesia—can be administered. If you’re using a different kind of anesthesia, you’ll receive an injection. When it’s time for your surgery, you will be wheeled into the operating suite on a stretcher.
Will I need someone to take me home after Achilles tendon repair surgery?
For your safety and the safety of other motorists, you will need someone to drive you home. If you don’t have a ride, we’ll help you arrange one.
Why are there so many people on my surgery team?
In addition to the surgeon, you have an anesthesiologist, nurses—some of them specialize in working with patients and others assist the surgeon—and support staff, who get you checked in and out, compile your records, and more. They all work together, performing their individual jobs, so the procedure is as successful as possible.
Why am I asked for my name and date of birth every time I get medicine?
It’s a safety precaution to make sure you’re receiving the medication that’s prescribed for you.
What do I need to bring to the hospital the day of my Achilles tendon repair surgery?
Anything you’ll need for an overnight stay, including a change of underwear, a sweatshirt, glasses or contacts, headphones, and your medications. You probably will not be there overnight, but it’s a good idea to be prepared.
How long does it take the anesthesia to wear off?
It takes about an hour for general anesthesia to wear off, but you may notice the effects for a day or so. It usually takes 30 minutes to an hour for local anesthesia to wear off, though the effects can last a few hours.
What will happen during Achilles tendon repair surgery?
You will be anesthetized during the procedure, so you won’t feel any pain. Your care team will watch your vital signs, making sure they are normal. Your surgeon will make an incision through your calf, repair your Achilles tendon, and then close your muscle and skin with sutures.
When will my family be informed about how I’m doing?
Our associates will get information from the surgical team in the operating room during your surgery and keep them updated.
How long will the Achilles tendon repair procedure take?
Achilles tendon repair surgery typically takes 30 minutes to an hour.
How long will I be under?
You will be anesthetized during the entire procedure and a few minutes afterward.
How long will I be in the hospital after Achilles tendon repair surgery?
The length of a hospital stay depends on each patient’s individual needs, but you will likely be released the same day as your surgery.
What can I expect right after Achilles tendon repair surgery?
You’ll wake up from surgery in the recovery room and, as you start to regain feeling in your body, you’ll receive pain medication. The length of time you stay in recovery will depend on how quickly your anesthesia wears off and your individual circumstances following your Achilles tendon repair surgery. Your ankle will likely be in a splint.
How will I know if Achilles tendon repair surgery worked?
Your surgeon will discuss your procedure with you.
When will I get to talk to my surgeon after my Achilles tendon repair surgery?
You’ll be able to talk to your surgeon immediately after your procedure, while you’re in the recovery room.
How soon after Achilles tendon repair surgery will I be up and moving around?
You will be up and moving around almost immediately after the procedure, but your care team will probably recommend that you keep your leg elevated as much as possible for the first few days following your Achilles tendon repair surgery.
Will I receive pain medication right after surgery?
In most cases, patients receive pain medication immediately following surgery.
How soon after Achilles tendon repair surgery can I eat or drink?
You may not be able to eat or drink right away. But in a short time, you may return to solid foods—but easy-to-digest items, including soups, pudding, and yogurt, are recommended.
Will I need to fill any prescriptions or take medication after Achilles tendon repair surgery?
You may be prescribed pain medication, anticoagulants, and/or other symptom-reducing medications.
Recovery and Follow-Up
What will I need to do to prepare for my recovery from Achilles tendon repair surgery?
Make sure you’ll have help with everyday tasks, such as cooking, showering, and doing laundry. If you live alone, our associates can help you find a temporary caretaker.
How should I prepare for my at-home recovery?
Create a living space on your first floor—climbing stairs can be difficult right after Achilles tendon repair surgery. Remove loose rugs and cords. Install safety bars or a secure handrail in your shower or bath and secure stairway handrails. Get a stable, comfortable chair with a firm seat cushion and back, and a footstool to elevate your leg while you’re recovering from an Achilles tendon repair surgery. Arrange for a toilet seat riser with arms if you have a low toilet. Get a bench or chair for your shower. Shop for the groceries you’ll need when you return home from the hospital. If you live alone, ask a friend or family member to check in with you.
If I need physical therapy or rehabilitation after Achilles tendon repair surgery, how is that arranged?
Your care team will likely recommend physical therapy following your Achilles tendon repair surgery. Our associates will help you arrange the post-operative care you’ll need.
Will I need any follow-up appointments or procedures after my Achilles tendon repair surgery?
You’ll have an appointment with your surgeon about two weeks after your surgery. Any other appointments you might need will be scheduled at that time.
Will there be any scarring or stitches to remove?
Your stitches or staples will likely be removed during your first postoperative appointment with your surgeon, about two weeks after surgery. There will be a scar where the incision was made.
What supplies do I need to have to care for any wounds or incisions?
You’ll need fresh dressings but you won’t need antibiotic ointment, as putting it on the area is unnecessary.
How do I care for my incision at home?
Your care team will give you specific instructions about how to care for your wound from your Achilles tendon repair surgery, but some general guidelines are below. Change your dressing daily, starting two days after you leave the hospital. Don’t scrub the incision area. If you have steri-strips over your incision, they will probably fall off on their own within about two weeks. You may remove your dressing and shower 24-48 hours after your surgery if your care team approves it. Carefully pat the incision dry after your shower and reapply the dressing. For about two weeks, don’t submerge your incision in water by taking a bath or getting in a pool or hot tub. When the incisions are completely healed, feel free to resume those activities.
What should I do if I have an emergency or accident after Achilles tendon repair surgery?
If you fall after your Achilles tendon repair surgery or have another kind of emergency, call your surgeon’s office. If you’re in need of immediate emergency services, go to the nearest emergency room.
When will I be able to get back to work after Achilles tendon repair surgery?
If you have a desk job, you may be able to return to work in 1–2 weeks; if you are on your feet at work, it might take 6–8 weeks. If your job requires you to be physically active, it could take a few months.
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