All You Wanted To Know About Tennis Elbow Surgery

People who suffer from tennis elbow usually discover that their injury heals by resting or following other tennis elbow treatments. However, in extreme cases where tennis elbow is not healed by other tennis elbow treatments and avoiding stress, it becomes necessary to undergo tennis elbow surgery.

When is tennis elbow surgery recommended?

Tennis elbow surgery is advised only when the pain persists for at least 6 months, even after other tennis elbow treatments. Doctors prefer non-surgical treatments before they recommend tennis elbow surgery. Some doctors advise 12 months non-surgical treatment before performing such a surgery.

How is tennis elbow surgery done?

There are different types of tennis elbow surgeries depending upon the extent and type of tennis elbow injury. Surgery is usually done as an outpatient treatment and you can go home the same day. A cast or sling is used to immobilize the arm after the tennis elbow surgery.

The tennis elbow surgery can be done by arthroscopy (a small hole) or more common incision in the arm (3 to 4 cm cut), or even a combination of the two. The decision on the way and the type of tennis elbow surgery depends on the tennis elbow problem.

Some common tennis elbow surgeries are:

    1. Incising (cutting) the tendon to release it to create mobility.

    2. Incising the scar tissue formed over and in the tendon, to create mobility.

    3. Reattaching (repairing) the tears in the tendon carefully to avoid over-tightening it.

    4. Making small holes in the bone to promote new blood vessel growth for quick healing.

What is the recovery time?

The recovery time varies from person to person after a tennis elbow surgery.  On an average, it may take 3 to 6 months for full recovery.  

For a quicker healing after tennis elbow surgery, keep a few things in mind:

    1. Give full effort to therapy program.

    2. Follow doctor’s post-surgical advice.

    3. Avoid doing the work or exercise that lead to tennis elbow. If you must, try to do things a different way.

    4. Avoid smoking cigarettes after the tennis elbow surgery. It will slow the healing process.

    5. Elevation is advised to prevent swelling.

    6. Arm should be kept dry to promote healing.

How successful is tennis elbow surgery?

There is no medical ratio to say how successful a tennis elbow surgery can be. However, according to a few studies 85 to 90 percent people are able to regain full strength in their previously injured elbow and have no pain.

Are there any side effects of tennis elbow surgery?

Side effects are rare after a tennis elbow surgery but can include:

    1. Unable able to extend your arm fully, although rehabilitation exercises can overcome this.

    2. Elbow pain that may persist or reappear.

    3. Infection, blood loss or nerve damage.

    4. Usual surgical side effects common with any surgery you may go through.

    5. Anesthesia side effects, also common with any surgery. 

By following the simple pre- and post- surgery guidelines you can heal your tennis elbow permanently. In most cases tennis elbow surgery is not at all required, because a person suffering from tennis elbow injury can recover by just giving adequate rest and simple exercises.