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Tenex TX1: A Less Invasive Treatment for Tondonitis

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Cincinnati Reds fans anxiously waited for good news about star pitcher Anthony "Disco" Desclafani’s elbow after the pitcher reported forearm soreness.  

Desclafani’s elbow was especially concerning to Reds fans. The pitcher just left a rehab stint with the Dayton Dragons for a partially torn UCL that has kept him from pitching this season. Fans sighed with relief when the problem with Desclafani’s arm was declared unrelated to his torn UCL, but instead was deemed to be a less serious diagnosis of tendonitis.

 

Time Out for Tendonitis 

Although tendonitis is less serious than a torn UCL, it can still keep Desclafani from playing baseball for the rest of the season. Desclafani is not the only Major League player to battle tendonitis, Los Angeles Dodger Hyun-Jin Ryu played only one game in all of 2016 because of tendonitis.

Tendonitis does not just affect baseball players. Football players, basketball players, golfers and many other athletes are also at risk of developing tendonitis. Tennis star Venus Williams was forced to withdraw from several tournaments throughout her career because of tendonitis in her wrists.

Tendonitis 101 

Tendonitis is the inflammation of tendons, the flexible, tough connective tissue that attaches muscles to the bone. Tendonitis typically occurs in tendons located near the joints, like the elbow, shoulder and knee. The Achilles tendon is also susceptible to developing tendonitis. 

Tendonitis is commonly caused by repetitive movements, like throwing a baseball, swinging a hammer or jumping up and down over and over again. 

Over time, this repetitive motion wears down the tendon and causes irritation, inflammation and the development of small tears.

Aging is also a cause of tendonitis, as is obesity. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and some bacterial infections, like gonorrhea, have also been linked to the development tendonitis.

Tendonitis frequently affects the tendons of the knee, elbow, wrist and shoulder. Jumper’s knee, tennis elbow and swimmer’s or pitcher's shoulder are all common names for tendonitis.

Symptoms of tendonitis include pain, usually with movement; swelling; stiffness; and a reduced range of motion when moving the affected area. Some patients with tendonitis report tenderness and redness, and the afflicted area may be hot to the touch.

Traditional Treatments for Tendonitis

Rest is the most common treatment for tendonitis, according to Dr. Michael Budler. Budler is an interventional radiologist in Grand Island, Nebraska. 

"Time away from the aggravating activity allows for damaged tissue to repair itself, but some tendons are very slow to heal," Budler said. 

Other commonly prescribed treatments for tendonitis are ice, pain relievers and NSAIDs like ibuprofen.

Many athletes spend long periods resting or in rehab for their injury, only to find themselves back in pain when they return to the game. 

"Self-care treatments and conventional therapies, like surgery, may reduce the symptoms of tendonitis for a short period of time, but these symptoms frequently return when the patient returns to activity," Budler said. 

Some treatments with more long-term results include cortisone injections and physical therapy, but these interventions don't guarantee results. 

"If patients do not respond to self-care treatments and other therapies, they may face the surgical removal of impacted tissue," Budler said. 

Surgical treatment for tendonitis does not guarantee total relief from painful symptoms of tendonitis either. It also means long recovery periods, which translates to a lot of time on the disabled list for athletes.

Budler treats athletes and other patients with tendonitis using the ultrasonic surgery tool Tenex TX1.

Tenex TX1 for Tendonitis

The Tenex TX1 procedure requires only a very small incision to reach the tissue, and local anesthesia is used to numb the incision site. Budler inserts a very thin fiber ultrasonic wand into the incision. The ultrasonic energy emitted through the wand cuts away damaged tissue while Budler is guided by imaging. 

Using the precision of ultrasonic energy in Tenex TX1 allows Budler to target only impacted tissue that causes pain -- healthy tissue nearby is not damaged or disturbed

"Ultrasonics help to minimize the impact of surgery, which then minimizes the length of recovery," Budler said. 

Recovery from the Tenex TX1 procedure is four to six weeks. 

 

Source: Red Reporter. Anthony DeSclafani diagnosed with elbow tendonitis. Red Reporter. 4 August 2017

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