Tennis Elbow Release

I do operate on patients with Tennis/Golfers Elbow when all other measures have failed or if the patient is impatient!

The procedure is done as a day-case and under general anaesthetic and takes about 20 minutes or so to complete.

I make an incision about 3 cms long over the point of the outside of the elbow (Tennis Elbow) or inside of the elbow (Golfers Elbow). As discussed in the section on Tennis Elbow, there are two problems causing Tennis Elbow: the tendon is under too much tension and it has degenerated. In order to allow it to regenerate that tension needs to be released. So what I do is carefully release the tendon from the bone and as it peels off you can see it being pulled down the forearm as the tension is relaxed. It will often move between 0.5 and 1 cm. Then I lightly tack the end of the tendon into it’s new resting place and stitch the skin closed. The stitches are under the skin so don’t need to be removed. And there will be paper stitches over that and then a dressing. You will be in a sling for about a week but can use your hand gently straight away. Once out of the sling you will start gently using the elbow and regain full movmement over the next 10 days or so. You should avoid doing any heavy work or gripping for the first few weeks and the physio will guide you through a rehabilitation programme until you are back to normal.

You can usually drive after 10 days (more quickly with an automatic obviously) but a return to physical work and gripping activities should be held off till 6 weeks.

Many people feel their elbow is much better after 2 weeks but in some it can be the full 6 weeks before they recover.