Surgical Information - Procedure

Lateral Epicondylitis Surgery

What is lateral epicondylitis surgery?

Lateral epicondylitis surgery is a procedure to alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow. Surgical options include:

  • Releasing a portion of the tendon from the bone
  • Removing the inflamed tendon
  • Repairing tendon tears

Many lateral epicondylitis procedures are performed arthroscopically with numerous benefits to the patient including less pain and blood loss, a very small incision, faster recovery, and a quicker return to work and activities. However, the right surgical approach involves a range of factors such as your overall health and the severity of your condition. It's important to consult a qualified hand and upper extremity specialist to determine the best course of action for you.

Anatomy

The elbow is made up of the humerus (upper arm bone), the ulna (the large forearm bone) and the radius (the small forearm bone). Muscles, ligaments and tendons hold the joint together. The lateral epicondyle is the bony bump on the outside (lateral side) of the elbow.

When is surgery recommended?

Most cases of lateral epicondylitis respond well to non-operative treatment including rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. A wrist sprint or elbow strap may also help. If the pain persists, steroid injections or PRP therapy may provide relief. If these measures fail to alleviate your symptoms, surgery may be necessary.

What is the recovery time?

Patients typically go home from the hospital the same day wearing an arm sling or wrist splint. Rehabilitation begins within a week and includes progressive exercises to restore elbow and arm flexibility, strength and range of motion. Most people return to work and daily activities within a few weeks. Return to sports or heavy use of the arm may take from four to six months.