Surgical Treatment of Chronic Achilles Tendinopathy: Long-term Results of the Endoscopic Technique

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Surgery has long been established as a valid alternative for chronic Achilles tendinopathies that have failed conservative treatment. Endoscopic procedures have shown satisfactory preliminary results for managing such injuries. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the long-term clinical outcomes of endoscopic surgery in patients with chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy. We evaluated 27 endoscopic procedures in 24 patients (mean age 45.5 ± 8.9 years; 12 males and 12 females) with chronic Achilles tendinopathy and at least 5 (mean 7.7, range 5 to 14) years of follow-up. All ambulatory procedures consisted of paratenon debridement and longitudinal tenotomies. The clinical evaluation included 2 specific functional rating systems (the Achilles Tendon Scoring System and the Victorian Institute Sport Assessment-Achilles questionnaire) and a pain visual analog scale. Patient satisfaction with the procedure was assessed using a patient global assessment response to therapy Likert scale score. All patients had an improved clinical outcome at the final follow-up visit. Both scoring systems showed significant improvement in all clinical outcomes at the last follow-up visit. The Victorian Institute Sport Assessment-Achilles questionnaire score had improved from 37.0 ± 4.9 points preoperatively to 97.5 ± 12.1 points postoperatively (p = .0006). The Achilles Tendon Scoring System score had improved from 32.6 ± 13.1 points preoperatively to 97.2 ± 12.3 points postoperatively (p = .000006). The pain visual analog scale score averaged 0.2 ± 1.1, and the patient global assessment response to therapy score was 0.25 ± 0.71. The percentage of patients with an excellent patient global assessment response to therapy score was 85.1%. Two postoperative problems were reported (7.4%): a delayed keloid lesion and a seroma with chronic fistula. The infection rate and systemic complication rate were 0%. In conclusion, endoscopic surgery provided a high rate of excellent long-term results in patients with chronic midportion Achilles tendinopathy. Debridement of the paratenon and crural fascia, along with longitudinal tenotomies, using a minimally invasive procedure provided completely resolution of symptoms at 7 years postoperatively in 96% of patients in the present consecutive series.

Level of Clinical Evidence: 4

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