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Impact of Tendon Transfer Surgery on Function and Participation Levels Among People Affected by Leprosy


Leprosy affects peripheral nerves, sometimes resulting in permanent disabilities. This instigates the self and social stigma, which limits the activity and social participation level of the patients. Tendon transfer surgery is performed to improve or restore limb functions, cosmetic appearance and help prevent further disabilities. This study aimed to assess whether the tendon transfer surgery improves the activity and participation level of the leprosy patients with disabilities. Case records of 80 patients who underwent tendon transfer surgery during 2018 -2021 were retrospectively analysed for activity and participation levels before and after surgery. Eye-Hands-Feet (EHF) score, the Screening of Activity Limitation and Safety Awareness (SALSA), and Participation scores (P Scale) were scales used to measure the outcomes, and these scores were extracted from the patient medical records. There was a significant improvement in the outcome measures after tendon transfer surgery. The mean (SD) difference in the pre and post scores of EHF, SALSA and P Scale were 0.95 (0.69), 7.39 (4.45) and 5.39 (4.05), respectively. The differences were statistically significant. Gender (female) and quantum of disability (EHF score) at the time of tendon transfer were independently associated with the activity level, whereas higher age at the time of tendon transfer was independently associated with the participation level. To conclude, tendon transfer surgery for leprosy patients with disability significantly reduced the levels of activity and participation restriction. Therefore, all the eligible patients should be motivated to undergo correction of deformities through tendon transfer surgery, especially females with correctable deformities.

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Journal Article
Roy S
Elkana M
Darlong J
Govindasamy K