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Treating Flexor Tendon Lacerations

Your doctor can tell if your flexor tendon is cut by examining your finger. If the wound is very deep, the finger may be x-rayed to make sure the bone isn’t damaged, too. If the flexor tendon is cut all the way through, your doctor will do surgery to rejoin the two ends of the tendon and repair any other damaged tissue. After surgery, you’ll need to follow a specific exercise program to regain movement in the finger.

Image of flexor tendon
Zigzag-shaped incision

Image of fingers
To rejoin the cut tendon, your doctor stitches the two ends back together. Sometimes nearby tissue also needs to be repaired.

Your Surgery

  • Your surgeon first exposes the cut tendon with a zigzag-shaped incision.

  • Then he or she finds the two separated ends and stitches them back together. In some cases, your surgeon may need to graft a new tendon to replace the cut one.

  • Nerves and other soft tissue may also need to be repaired.

Surgery generally takes 2 to 3 hours. You may be given anesthesia to make you sleep, or only the hand and arm may be numbed. In either case, you feel no pain during surgery. Usually you can go home the same day.

Hand in cast
Your hand may be in a splint or cast for several weeks after surgery.

Starting Your Recovery

Flexor Tendon Surgery is one of the most difficult injuries to recover from. It takes 10-12 weeks for the tendons to regain most of their strength. You will not be released to full activities until 3 months after surgery.

The most important factor after flexor tendon surgery is to protect the healing tendon for the first 6 weeks after surgery. Do not try to bend your fingers using your muscle power, as this can cause the tendons that you just had repaired to rupture.  A rupture would require an additional surgery and can significantly decrease the chances of getting good functional recovery.

At your first therapy visit, your dressings will be removed and a special splint will be made that will allow you to start your exercise program. You will not be allowed to use your hand for any activity for up to 6 weeks from the surgery. Continued therapy is vital, and may last up to 12 weeks from your surgery date.

© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.