Surgery for Epicondylitis of the Elbow – Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow
The epicondyles are two bumps located on the inside and outside of the elbow where muscle tendons and ligaments attach. Inflammation and tearing of the attached tissues lead to epicondylitis. When it occurs on the inside (medial side) it is commonly called “Golfer’s Elbow” and when this occurs on the outside (lateral side) it is commonly called “Tennis Elbow”. These injuries are very commonly repetitive use injuries resulting in cumulative trauma.
Multiple techniques have been described to treat medial and lateral epicondylitis. Original methods for treatment included an open incision over the region of the damaged tendon and epicondyle. Newer techniques have been developed including arthroscopic techniques as well as a percutaneous ultrasound guided technique (Tenex Procedure).
The ultrasound guided Tenex technique offers many advantages. It is done through a single small incision less than 1 cm, requiring no sutures, it is done completely under local anesthetic (you are awake throughout the procedure) and can often be done in the office. Through this small incision, Dr. Lenarz is able to remove the damaged tissue, relieving the symptoms. Once started, the procedure usually takes 2 minutes or less. After the surgery, the elbow can be moved in any and all planes without restriction. Dr. Lenarz does recommend avoiding any stressful lifting, pushing, pulling or grasping for the first six weeks while the tissue heals. Most people are able to return to normal daily activities within a few months. In certain circumstances, an open procedure is still necessary for treatment of epicondylitis.