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U.S. Center for Sports Medicine is proud to introduce a new treatment option, designed to remove the source of tendon pain. The FAST procedure (FOCUSED ASPIRATION OF SCAR TISSUE) is based on advanced technology developed in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. FAST is a minimally invasive treatment designed to remove tendon scar tissue, allowing patients to return to their athletics and active lifestyles.

Some of the best athletes and weekend warriors in St. Louis are treated with this option. The innovative FAST procedure – Focused Aspiration of Soft Tissue – is a gentle method for percutaneous removal of diseased tissue and restoration of natural tendon and soft tissue function. Based on technology developed in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, FAST combines conventional ultrasonic imaging for visualization with advanced TX1™ Tissue Removal System.

This distinctive combination allows physicians to identify and simultaneously debride, emulsify, and aspirate pain-generating pathologic soft tissue in tendons and other musculoskeletal structures of the elbow, knee, ankle, foot and shoulder.

Only with the FAST Procedure:

  • Minimally invasive percutaneous insertion
  • Identify, emulsify and aspirate diseased tissue
  • Total procedure time of 15 minutes or less
  • Quick recovery time
  • Compelling clinical results and safety

What are some common tendon injuries?

The most common injuries seen are tendon and soft tissue injuries. These injuries include:

  • Tennis elbow
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Jumper’s knee
  • Swimmer’s shoulder

Some tendon injuries can cause significant lifestyle changes. “Patients with severe plantar fasciitis are consumed by pain from their first step in the morning to their last step at night. They are forced to stop running and working out because the pain is so intense.” Patients with tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are devastated when severe pain prevents them from playing and competing in their beloved sport.

What causes tendon pain?

Tendon pain is most often caused by trauma, such as a hit or twist on the joint, or repetitive motion during sports or work. Scar tissue builds up as the tendon tissue breaks down. The scarred and damaged tendon can cause significant pain that can stop you from fully participating in athletics and life. The pain in your joint likely will become worse over time.

What are the treatment options?

Until now, the options for treating severe tendon and fascia pain were rest, physical therapy, Plasma, and an open surgical procedure. Patients utilizing rest, physical therapy, and medication may find some pain relief but will not actually address the cause of the pain. PRP therapy injects the patient’s own healthy growth stimulating platelets and nutrients back into the injured tissue for accelerated healing. We run one of busiest PRP treatment practices in the country and may combine PRP therapy with FAST in certain medical conditions. Although surgery can be beneficial, it is accompanied by potential side effects and considerable down time. All of these treatment options have prolonged recovery periods and restricted activity, which may be unacceptable to patients.

How is the FAST procedure different from other options?

The FAST procedure is a gentle, minimally invasive method that allows us to identify, emulsify and remove diseased tissue without disturbing the surrounding healthy tissue. The desired effect is, “to achieve the same goal as surgery without the use of general anesthesia.” The patient is given a local anesthetic and remains fully awake. Ultrasound imaging is used to identify the scar tissue. “Using the ultrasound guidance allows me to pinpoint the target area and the small, innovative instrument I use provides a breakthrough in precision of soft tissue removal.” This system represents the most advanced technology available for treating these types of injuries. All major insurance companies will cover the expenses of the FAST procedure.

What kind of results should the patient expect following FAST?

Immediately following the procedure, the patient is pain-free and able to return home. The patient may return to their athletics and activity shortly thereafter. Some of these patients have returned to play within mere days of the procedure.

FAST is the newest, most technologically advanced option for removing tendon pain. The goal is to find the option best suited to your needs. “It is a privilege to be a part of the sports medicine and orthopedic community in St. Louis. In my opinion, we have some of the best doctors in the country working here. I’m honored to bring one more medical option to our patients.”