When Do You Need Surgery for Tennis Elbow?

Elbow Pain

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is an inflammatory injury to the tendon near your elbow running along the backside of your forearm. Don’t let the name fool you. Although the injury is common among tennis players, it can happen to anyone who frequently strains their arm in physical activity.

Treatments vary for tennis elbow. Some people can benefit from conservative treatments. Others may need orthopedic surgery.

Who is a candidate for tennis elbow surgery?

In most cases, tennis elbow can be treated without surgery. In very minor cases, all you need is a little rest and home remedies. In other cases, medical professionals may treat tennis elbow with anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections. Still, these treatments are not always effective.

If you’re one of those who are suffering from tennis elbow pain but are not finding relief from these conservative treatment methods, you may need tennis elbow surgery.

What are the types of tennis elbow surgery?

The main goal of tennis elbow surgery is to remove the damaged portion of the tendon to stimulate healing and the growth of healthy tissue. There are two ways surgeons approach this goal: arthroscopic surgery and open surgery.

  • Arthroscopic surgery — In arthroscopic surgery, the surgeon inserts a thin tube with a tiny camera attached at the end into your arm. This enables surgeons to view the operating area through a screen instead of making large incisions for a direct visual. This also reduces the risks of infection and blood loss and helps reduce pain while recovering. With arthroscopic surgery, the surgeon can use tiny surgical instruments to remove bone spurs and damaged parts of the tendon.
  • Open surgery — If the tear in your tendon is severe, surgeons may perform open surgery. This provides them with more direct access so they can remove damaged portions of the tendon and reattach it to your muscles. Recovery from open surgery is a little longer and more uncomfortable, but the success rate of the procedure is high.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for tennis elbow surgery

Do you have pain along the outside of your elbow and forearm due to overuse and strain? If conservative treatments aren’t helping, you may need to consider orthopedic surgery. Contact us today to talk to our team about tennis elbow surgery or to schedule an initial appointment.