Until now, the options for treating tendon pain were rest, physical therapy, medications, or an open surgical procedure. However, it could take months, sometimes years, to recover using these options. Doctors at Bryan Health are the first in Nebraska to perform an advanced, minimally invasive, outpatient procedure that is changing lives for people with tendon pain.
Sarah Kelly had ongoing, chronic plantar fasciitis for the last five years. Her heel pain kept her from enjoying life. After a day of work, she had to lie on the couch, icing her aching foot instead of doing things she enjoyed, like taking walks or playing at the park with her children. Her co-workers prompted her to make an appointment with Dr. Michael Budler, interventional radiologist, Advanced Radiology, to get some help.
Sarah thought she had tried every treatment available, other than invasive surgery. Then, Dr. Budler introduced her to a revolutionary new procedure called FAST which stands for Fasciotomy and Surgical Tenotomy.
“The FAST technique is minimally invasive and only takes about 20 minutes to perform,” says Dr. Budler. “It is designed to remove the source of the pain, which is scarred and damaged tissue, without disturbing the surrounding healthy tissue. It achieves the same goal as surgery, but is performed under local anesthesia in a non-surgical setting and has a much shorter recovery time. It can be used to treat not only plantar fasciitis, but also tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, jumper’s knee, and Achilles tendonitis.”
Interventional radiologists at Bryan Health use ultrasound guidance to target the exact location of the painful scar tissue. Then, a small instrument the size of a toothpick is inserted into the scar tissue and delivers ultrasonic energy that breaks it up without disturbing the healthy surrounding tissue. After the scar tissue is removed, the tiny nick is covered with just a Band-Aid.
After FAST, patients go home the same day with the restriction of no weight-bearing activities for two weeks. In most cases, people return to their normal activities within six weeks.
“This procedure has given me a new lease on life,” says Sarah. “I can’t tell you how exciting it is to start each day knowing I won’t have any pain.”
To learn more about FAST, call (402) 481-3095 or go online at www.bryanhealth.org/FAST-Technique. The procedure is covered by most insurance plans and no physician referral is needed for a consultation. To schedule a consultation, call the Bryan Scheduling Center at (402) 481-5121.