09.24.2013 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness
What is the FAST™ Technique?
FAST, which stands for fasciotomy and surgical tenotomy, is a new, non-operative, FDA-approved treatment option for patients with chronic tendinopathies. At Commonwealth, we’ve used this technique to successfully treat patients with tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, as well as tendinitis in the kneecap, rotator cuff and Achilles tendon.
Who is a good candidate for the FAST procedure?
Anyone who has had tendinitis for more than three months is a good candidate. In addition, anyone who has failed more conservative measures such as therapy or cortisone injections for their tendinitis symptoms should consider the procedure.
How does FAST work?
The procedure uses ultrasound waves inserted through a small incision in the skin to identify and break up calcification and chronic tendinitis. It is quick and minimally invasive and provides patients an effective treatment option without an open surgical procedure.
How many treatments are involved?
Just one. FAST is a permanent fix that successfully removes pain-generating soft tissue.
What are the benefits?
The entire procedure takes only about 15 minutes. It is performed under local anesthesia, which means the patient remains completely awake throughout. The incision is tiny – just 3 mm, which is about one-eighth of an inch. All of this makes recovery fast and easy.
What is involved in the recovery process?
Recovery time is minimal and most people can return to work the following day. Exercise can be resumed in one to two weeks in most cases.
What are the outcomes?
At Commonwealth, our patient outcomes have been excellent. A vast majority of patients see a significant improvement right away in their tendinitis, with no recurrence of symptoms.
Where is the procedure performed?
Currently, FAST is performed at Commonwealth’s Outpatient Surgery Center. In the future, we hope to offer this option in the office.
Do patients come for an office visit before scheduling the procedure?
Do they need a referral?
We do have patients come for an office visit first. If the assessment determines that FAST is an appropriate treatment option, we go ahead and schedule the procedure at the outpatient surgery center . Patients do not need special referrals for either the office visit or FAST procedure unless required by their insurance plan.
Is FAST covered by insurance?
The FAST procedure is FDA-approved, so it is covered under most insurance plans. However, it is considered an outpatient procedure and some insurance plans may require a co-pay. Patients should check with their insurance companies for specifics.
By: Amanda B. Trucksess, MD; Commonwealth Orthopaedics
Dr. Trucksess is the only surgeon at Commonwealth Orthopaedics who performs the FAST™ Technique and one of the only physicians in Northern Virginia to offer this innovative option. If you have questions about FAST, call Melissa Bryon at 703-810-5202, extension 1426.
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