Our tendons are the strong bands of connective tissue that serve as the mechanism of attachment between our muscles and bones. The fibrous tissue that comprises our tendons can be damaged by an acute injury or degenerate over time from overuse, ultimately leading to tendonitis, which is a painful, chronic condition. Millions of people a year suffer from chronic tendonitis, which causes pain, stiffness, and swelling that can severely impact their quality of life and prevent them from doing many of the things they love.

The traditional treatments for chronic tendon pain include rest, steroid shots, physical therapy, or, in extreme cases, surgery to repair the damaged tissue in the affected tendons. However, there is a new procedure for tendonitis, designed by clinicians at the prestigious Mayo Clinic, that offers patients another treatment option for this painful condition: TENEX, the trade name for a procedure formally known as percutaneous tenotomy.

How does TENEX work?

TENEX is a minimally-invasive, ultrasound-guided procedure that is performed under local anesthesia. During the procedure, your physician will use ultrasound imaging to locate the damaged tendon tissue that is causing your pain. Once located, a tiny incision is made above the site of the damaged tendon so that a small, ultrasonic device can be placed under the skin near the damaged tendon tissue. This proprietary instrument emits ultrasonic frequency waves specifically calibrated to break down and simultaneously remove the damaged tissue while leaving the healthy tendon tissue unharmed. Removing this dead and dying tissue allows the tendon to properly heal itself, bringing relief from the pain, swelling, and inflammation of tendonitis. Furthermore, by selectively targeting the damaged tissue and leaving the healthy tissue intact, this procedure prevents unnecessary damage to healthy tissue and reduces recovery time. It is truly a precision treatment for tendonitis!

What Can TENEX Treat?

Any pain, swelling, or stiffness that is the result of tendon damage can be treated with percutaneous tenotomy. Some of the most common conditions we treat with the TENEX procedure at RestorePDX include tennis elbow (common extensor tendonitis), jumper’s knee (patellar tendinitis), golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis), plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendinitis. If you have undergone conservative treatment for any of these conditions and are still experiencing the symptoms of tendonitis, the TENEX procedure could be for you!

What are the benefits of TENEX?

The TENEX procedure has a number of advantages over traditional treatment modalities for tendinopathy. It’s a minimally-invasive procedure performed in the outpatient setting under minimal levels of sedation. It requires very little–generally none–narcotic pain medication. And because the procedure uses an incision less than one inch long, it has a greatly reduced risk profile for infection or other complications following the procedure, especially compared to traditional surgical intervention. Finally, the procedure produces minimal scarring, which many patients appreciate.

Taken together, all of these advantages ultimately mean that the recovery period following a TENEX procedure is significantly shorter than recovery from other tendon repair procedures, which allows patients to return to work, life, and play much more quickly.