12:40am Friday 22 September 2017

Minimally invasive Achilles tendon surgery reduces complications

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

Orthopaedic surgeon Adam Schiff, MD, of Loyola University Medical Center, used a new minimally invasive technique to repair 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.”

Dr. Schiff specializes in treating foot and ankle problems. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola’s Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.


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