What Is the Tenex Procedure?

Man suffering from elbow tendonitis.

Tendons attach muscles to bone and are an intricate part of most major joints in the body. When tendons are torn or damaged from repetitive use or injuries, scar tissue can form that can result in pain and dysfunction in the joints. The damaged tissue in tendons can result in inflammation and irritation or tendonitis. The Tenex procedure is a trademarked medical treatment to remove damaged tissue in tendons to relieve pain and discomfort from tendonitis of the elbow, knee, shoulder and other joints.

What Causes Tendonitis?

Tendonitis is a common condition that affects major joints. Runner’s or jumper’s knee, golfer/tennis elbow and swimmer’s shoulder are examples of tendonitis or tendon injuries involving major joints. While these conditions are linked to certain sports that require repetitive motion, many people experience tendonitis from other activities. Any activity that causes repetitive or excess wear on tendons can result in small tears and scar tissue that can cause inflammation.

Tendonitis can cause chronic pain that limits function and mobility. While most people with tendonitis recover using conservative, non-invasive treatment, some continue to have symptoms. About 20% of patients with severe tendonitis have symptoms that continue for six months or more and may require surgical treatment for relief.

How Does the Tenex Procedure Work?

Most tendonitis treatments for tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis and jumper’s knee do not repair the tendon. Anti-inflammatory medications or injections can reduce swelling and pain, but it does not remove the damaged tissue. The Tenex procedure is a minimally-invasive treatment to remove damaged tissue in tendons to reduce pain and improve functionality.

The Tenex procedure uses ultrasound technology to identify damaged tissue in tendons affected by tendonitis. Once the micro-tears and scar tissue are found, a specialized device is used to apply ultrasonic energy to the tissue. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area to minimize any pain during the treatment. A micro-incision is made to access the tissue – this is so small that it does not even require stitches. The specialized micro-tip allows for precise placement of the ultrasonic energy to break down scar tissue.

The Tenex treatment is an outpatient procedure that can be performed in a doctors office. This is an ideal procedure for those who have chronic tendonitis that is not responding to other types of treatments. With Tenex tendonitis treatment, the source of pain and functional issues in the tendon are addressed to allow the tendon to heal properly for improved performance.

Conditions Treated with the Tenex Treatment

Whenever a tendon is damaged from injury or repetitive use, it can be susceptible to tendonitis. The shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and foot are all common areas affected by tendonitis. Repetitive movements required for playing sports or certain jobs can result in damaged tendon tissue. Some of the tendon conditions treated with the Tenex procedure include:

  • Swimmer’s shoulder
  • Calcific rotator cuff tendonitis
  • Golfer/Tennis elbow
  • Wrist tendonitis
  • Hip (gluteal) tendonitis – associated with hip bursitis
  • Jumper or runner’s knee
  • Ankle or Achilles tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis

Tendon damage can be painful. When rest, physical therapy and medications do not relieve chronic tendonitis, the Tenex procedure may be a solution. Good candidates for the Tenex procedure are those who have tried other treatments for tendonitis without success and have experienced symptoms for three months or more. Other indications include loss of function, chronic pain and specific spots in the tendon that cause the most pain.

The Tenex procedure is FDA-approved for treating chronic tendonitis. It can be performed by any doctor or surgeon trained to use the Tenex trademarked device – it is most commonly available through orthopedic surgeons that specialize in sports injuries. Since it is an FDA-approved treatment, most insurance plans will cover this procedure.
A runner stopped by severe pain in the ankle area.

Tenex Procedure Recovery

The Tenex procedure uses ultrasonic energy to break down tissue versus surgical removal of tissue. This allows for a less invasive procedure that requires minimal downtime and recovery. After the treatment is completed, the micro-incision is covered by a small adhesive bandage. While the Tenex procedure is a type of surgery, it is much less invasive than open surgery due to the tiny incision and protection of the surrounding tissue. The Tenex procedure recovery is much shorter and less painful than traditional tendon surgery.

The Tenex procedure recovery requires little to no downtime – most patients can resume routine activities after their surgery. There is very little discomfort, especially compared to open tendon surgery. As the tendon heals, the tendonitis symptoms dissipate and improve. For most patients, the tendon will heal in about four weeks or less.

If you suffer from chronic tendonitis in your shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle or foot, the Tenex procedure may be an option for relief. The Tenex procedure recovery is quick and requires minimal downtime in comparison to other tendon surgeries. Most patients are back to performing all their normal activities in less than a month. To learn more about minimally-invasive Tenex surgery for tendonitis, contact a local orthopedic surgeon that offers this procedure at their practice.