Tennis Elbow is a condition that occurs when someone overuse their elbow by doing repetitive motions. Anyone can get Tennis Elbow; tennis players and other athletes are just more commonly known to experience this injury. Tennis Elbow is when someone has inflammation and swelling in their elbow tendons. A doctor can determine this condition by examining the tendons that connect to the forearm muscles on the outer part of the elbow. When an athlete uses their elbow too much, the muscles and tendons can become seriously damaged. If the condition does not improve within a few months, usually a doctor will recommend surgical treatment.
What happens during the surgery for Tennis Elbow?
The surgery for Tennis Elbow will remove the injured piece of tendon. This should help the patient experience less pain and be able to move their elbow a lot easier. There are two different methods for doctors and surgeons to use to execute the surgery. One being open surgery and the other being arthroscopy. Usually the patient is left awake during both methods and given medications to numb the pain.
If open surgery is chosen for the patient, the surgeon will make a cut right above the bone near the elbow. The surgeon will detach and remove the damaged part of the tendon and reconnect the other parts of the tendon back to the bone. A very small piece of the patient's elbow may also be removed by the doctor to increase blood flow and help speed up the healing process.
If the arthroscopic method of surgery is chosen, there will be several small cuts made in the patient's skin right above the elbow. Tiny instruments and a camera will enter through the small cuts, the surgeon will separate the impaired segments of the tendon, and take them out.
Both surgeries are uncomplicated and are easily closed with staples or stitches. A bandage will be placed over the closed incision afterwards, and most patients are able to be same-day outpatients returning home directly after surgery.
When will I know if I need surgery for Tennis Elbow?
A doctor will usually try other nonsurgical methods first, such as plenty of rest, physical therapy, medications, braces, and steroids. They will usually try to defer surgery for up to six months if possible, to look for any signs of improvement. If none of these methods seem to be working or if the problem is becoming worse, surgical treatment will most likely be recommended for the patient. It will also depend on how bad the damage is, the health of the patient, and the patient's personal obligations.
What happens after the surgery?
The doctor will usually put a splint in the arm to keep it from being moved, which usually lasts for a week. Then, there will be a follow-up with the doctor where the stitches and splint will be removed from the patient. After the splint and stitch removal, physical therapy is typically added to the patient's recovery plan. It is important to also note that the doctor must be the only one to release the patient back to any athletic sports once the surgical incision and elbow seem to be healed, which generally takes a few months.
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