Histopathology in rabbit Achilles tendon after operative tenolysis (longitudinal fiber incisions)

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2001 Feb;11(1):4-8. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0838.2001.011001004.x.


The surgical treatment (tenolysis) of chronic Achilles tendinopathy is often successful. However, little is known about the postoperative intratendinous changes after this procedure. The study group consisted of 21 rabbits. Operative tenolysis was done in each case on one Achilles tendon (AT). The ATs of both legs were studied histologically and immunohistochemically using antibodies against collagen types I and III 2, 4 and 6 weeks postoperatively. Nine rabbits without operation served as controls. A significant uniform hypervascularization was noted in the entire operated tendon postoperatively, and this concurred with the contralateral nonoperated AT, but neither side showed changes in collagen fiber structure as judged by immunohistochemistry. We conclude that the tenolysis procedure triggers neoangiogenesis at the AT followed by increased blood flow and improved nutrition in the same. These changes could, at least partly, explain the often seen clinical success in surgically treated tendinopathy.

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / blood supply
  • Achilles Tendon / pathology*
  • Achilles Tendon / surgery
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Orthopedic Procedures
  • Rabbits
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Tendon Injuries / pathology*
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery