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Nobody told me about tendon transfer surgery while I was in New Jersey. Or Philadelphia. Or what I read on the Internet. So what is it? 

Tendon transfer surgery may be needed on the hand and/or foot if muscle function has been lost due to a disorder of the nervous system, like stroke. 

You probably read my post called My Upcoming Surgery for Foot Drop, aka My 50/50 Gamble.(http://stroketales.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2014-06-01T00:00:00-04:00&updated-max=2014-07-01T00:00:00-04:00&max-results=3)

Well, I had tendon transfer surgery, by Dr. Dane Wukich at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), two  weeks ago. This is the first time I could write about it to all of you because of the ongoing pain that should slow down in another two or three weeks. The surgeon called it successful, but here’s the detour he had to take because he encountered two problems:

The tendon, when he got to it, was atrophied, meaning that the tendon lost the power it once had. I was 5 years post-stroke. Here’s a picture of what it looked like:

Also, the bone around the tendon was too thin to safely transfer it. I had osteopenia, a step before osteoporosis. 

So the surgeon cut the tendon rather than transfer it, allowing my foot to be flat. (The tendons shorten after a stroke from non-use). That’s good enough for me. I still can’t wiggle my toes, but it was worth it, not having drop foot any longer. It might take more than a year to discard the brace, but at least there is hope.

Again I ask, why didn’t some doctor tell me about tendon transfer surgery before it was too late to do anything?

Folks, if you had a stroke or know people who had a stroke a year ago or less, investigate about tendon transfer surgery. You’ll be doing yourself or them a great favor before it’s too late, and before atrophy sets in.

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman

Joyce Hoffman is one of the world's top 10 stroke bloggers according to the Medical News Today. You can find the original post and other blogs Joyce wrote in Tales of a Stroke Survivor. (https://talesofastrokesurvivor.blog)
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Joyce Hoffman
9 years ago

Anonymous, in 8 more weeks, once the cast and boot are off, I'll let you know.

Joyce Hoffman
9 years ago

oc2dean, stroke, one of the leading causes of disability in America, has been on the back burner for a long time. Any suggestions?

9 years ago

Not necessarily. Once you have the surgery my Dr said that I would not be able to bend my ankle. Let me know if that's true. If you can, then I need a different Dr.

9 years ago

Survivors are in the dark because our doctors have not written up public stroke protocols available to all patients. I have no idea why not. With 10 million survivors a year it is not for lack of subjects.

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