Surgery for Tennis Elbow
tennis elbow may involve:
- Cutting (releasing) the
- Removing inflamed tissue from the
- Repairing (reattaching) tendon tears if it is possible to
do so without overtightening the tendon.
Surgery may be done using
arthroscopy, traditional open surgery, or a
combination of the two techniques, depending on the type of problem and the
method the doctor prefers to use.
Surgery can be done with
general or regional anesthetic and can require an
overnight stay in the hospital.
What To Expect After Surgery
Recovery varies from person to person,
usually taking at least 3 to 6 months for a complete recovery.
- Cigarette smoking slows tendon and wound
- Recovery depends on the amount of time and effort you put
into a rehabilitation program.
- You may not be able to keep doing
the activity that caused your tennis elbow. Or you may have to make some
changes to the way you do that activity in the future.
Why It Is Done
You and your doctor may consider
- You still have elbow soreness and pain after
more than 6 to 12 months of nonsurgical treatment.
- Corticosteroid shots have given good short-term pain
relief but the pain has returned.
- You cannot perform daily tasks
and activities because of elbow pain.
How Well It Works
Various surgical procedures are
used to treat tennis elbow. Some surgical research exists. But there are no
published, controlled trials that either strongly support or discourage the use
of any one procedure or prove that surgery is better than other
Most people are able to
return to their previous activities after tennis elbow surgery. Be sure to
change any previous technique, equipment, or activity that has been linked to
the elbow pain.
The risks of surgery for tennis elbow
- Slight loss of ability to straighten the
- Elbow pain that persists or recurs.
blood loss, nerve damage (risks in all surgeries).
Anesthesia side effects.
What To Think About
Surgery for tennis elbow is
seldom needed because the condition usually improves with tendon rest and
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Buchbinder R, et al. (2011). Surgery for lateral elbow pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3).
Primary Medical Reviewer
||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
||David Bardana, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
Current as of
||January 10, 2013