Looking into Surgical Results of Tennis Elbow

Doctors tracked patients with tennis elbow to compare the results of open and closed surgical methods. The study was done over five years and included 87 patients.

Open release is done through an incision in skin. Open release was used for 54 patients. Closed release using an arthroscope was used in 33 cases. An arthroscope is a tool that allows the doctor to enter the joint without a large opening. One or two small puncture holes are all that are needed. A tiny TV camera on the end of the scope allows the doctor to see inside.

In both methods the tendon was cut, and scar tissue was removed. The bone was shaved, and then the tendon was repaired. After the operation, the open group had to wait about six weeks before starting exercise. The arthroscopic group started strengthening exercises as soon as they felt ready.

Patients were followed after the operation for up to two years. The long-term results show no difference between the two methods of operating on the elbow. In the short run, patients with arthroscopic release went back to work sooner. They also needed less therapy after the operation.

References: Raymond E. Peart, MD et al. Lateral Epicondylitis: A Comparative Study of Open and Arthroscopic Lateral Release. In The American Journal of Orthopedics. November 2004. Vol. 33. No. 11. Pp. 565-567.