By Christine Otis – Daily News Correspondent
on Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:00 AM EST
Tennis took its toll on Naples resident Phil Landauer. The pain from his damaged tendon was so aggravating the tennis pro avoided the courts where he loved to teach and play.
“I had cortisone shots, but it only masked the problem,” Landauer said of his troublesome tendon.
He was looking for a cure when he found Tenex, a new medical procedure for the treatment of tendinitis.
Tenex Health TX proceudre is a minimally invasive surgery done under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. It’s an ultrasound guiding procedure using an ultrascope (a pressure- and sound-sensitive device used in surgery) to remove a patient’s debris tendon, the damaged part of the tissue that causes a patient pain. The procedure offers quick pain relief, shorter recovery time and there are no sutures or stitches.
It can be used to treat golfer’s and tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis, runner’s or jumper’s knee and plantar fasciitis (the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot).
“When I had surgery, I didn’t think I’d be able to play. I played and won doubles this past weekend,” Landauer said of his quick recovery time. “And I’m going to another tournament in April.”
Drs. James J. Guerra and Keith Spain at the Collier Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics Center perform the Tenex procedure in Naples. It was developed in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic.
“The Tenex procedure is an exciting new option for the treatment of recalcitrant elbow tendinitis. I’ve been impressed with how well patients have done,” Guerra said.
Both patients and doctors are pleased with results from Tenex.
“It feels like a new lease on life,” said Ted Parsons, a Naples teacher, baseball coach and golfer, who had numerous other treatments before deciding on Tenex. He returned within two weeks to his sporting activities after having the procedure.
Many patients have run the gamut of treatments from cortisone shots, immobilization of the problem area and stopping the normal activities they enjoy. These treatments offered short-term resolution with patients returning to the doctor’s office when the problem resurfaces.
Dennis Bretz, a golfer, wanted more permanent relief and opted for the Tenex procedure.
“See that dark area? I’m going to remove that. Your body will heal the area I’m removing the damage from,” Spain explained during the Tenex surgery, showing Bretz the damaged tissue on the monitor while using the ultrascope to remove it.
“A cortisone shot hurts more than this procedure did,” Bretz said immediately following the Tenex procedure. The surgery, which took just seven minutes, “was unbelievable,” Bretz said. “That’s it? I’m done? Wow, this is quicker and easier than I had imagined.”
The incision site is minuscule and requires only a small adhesive bandage after surgery. The total recovery time is about 12 weeks before patients can go back to normal activity; however, patients usually feel better within a few days post surgery and feel different after a week.
“It was amazing, especially after the amount of pain involved I had before the surgery. It was awesome to be relieved of this pain,” Parsons said.
Patients used over-the-counter pain killers after surgery, but as Landauer said, “I didn’t take it for long. I didn’t need it.”
In general, typical surgery for tendinitis issues has double the recovery time than Tenex. It is also more costly due to the required number of doctor visits since the recovery time is longer, and the general anesthesia adds further costs than the Tenex procedure.
“My patients have reported experiencing a nearly painless treatment, a quick recovery and lasting pain relief,” Spain said.