New device relieves tendon pain without major surgery

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- It is an injury you can't see and that many people suffer through silently.

Tendon injuries affect up to 10 million Americans, but until now there were few options to treat them without major surgery.

Jan Henry knows how painful a tendon injury can be; even walking her dog was painful.

“He was pulling on the leash and I was throwing the ball for him. I started developing a lot more pain," Henry said. "And at that point, I decided I needed to have it looked at.”

Tendonitis is a painful condition caused mostly by repetitive motions either on the job or often in a sport, according to Dr. Michael Switzer with Maricopa Integrated Health System.

“Those tendons start to develop little micro tears and as the body tries to heal them, it might thicken or that tendon becomes diseased," Switzer said.

He said to think of things like tennis elbow or plantar fasciitis.

“And what causes pain often, where we see with ultrasound, is we can see some thickening of the tendon actually," Switzer said.

Traditionally, physical therapy, steroid injections and surgery were the only ways to treat tendonitis. Switzer said these options often have mediocre results or long recovery times.

But thanks to a new device, the Tenex TX microtip, Switzer is using sound to heal those injured tendons.

“The very tip of this probe is what produces the energy that is removing the scar tissue," Switzer explained.

It’s the same principle as the sonic toothbrush but more powerful.

Guided by an ultrasound image, doctors go through a small incision and place the tip on the scarred tendon.

"It operates at a certain frequency that is to remove the scar tissue and preserve the healthy tissue," Switzer said. "Additionally, by treating it and delivering that energy to the diseased area, you are encouraging the body to promote healing."

Switzer said patients need to rest the joint for several days, then do light activity for about four weeks. After six weeks, they can get back into their normal routine.

“After about four weeks, I realized that I could raise my arm above my head, which I hadn't been able to do in a long time," Henry said.

Maricopa Integrated Health System is the first in the Southwest to have radiologists use the device. It is covered by many insurance plans.

If you are interested in the procedure you can call:

Radiology Scheduling
Maricopa Integrated Health System
602-344-1426