Surgery is usually regarded as a “last resort” in the treatment of Tennis elbow – But there comes a time when a small percentage of elbow pain sufferers end up needing to resort to it.
If you feel like you’re getting to the end of your rope and starting to ask your self whether a surgical procedure might be the way to go (there are several different types) this video by surgeon, John T Knight, M.D., of the Wrist and Hand Institute may help you understand what’s involved:
“Pain at the outside or lateral side of the elbow is generally associated with Tennis elbow, also known as Lateral Epicondylitis. Overuse of the elbow can cause the muscles to tear away from the bone slightly, and with each tear scar tissue develops, which can lead to irritation and constriction of nerves and tendons in the area.”
Dr Knight uses an animation at the 3:20 min mark to demonstrate what is involved in the typical Tennis Elbow surgery – What’s know as ‘Open’ surgery with a full incision, I believe.
(No actual video footage of a real surgery is shown, however, so don’t worry if you’re squeamish!)
And if you’re currently facing this tough choice, this article of my own may be helpful to you in your decision making process:
I don’t know why Dr. Knight is referring to Tennis Elbow as a type of Tendonitis / inflammatory process in the video, when it’s usually a degenerative process – See this post for more on that: Is Tennis Elbow Tendonitis or TendinOSIS?
He refers to tearing of the tendons as the main injury mechanism involved, which makes perfect sense from a surgeon’s perspective, since it’s the injury sufferers with tears (or significant degeneration) who most often end up needing surgery.
However, fortunately, the vast majority of Lateral Epicondylitis / Epicondylosis sufferers do not experience any significant tearing.
PRP is also mentioned – See my post on that here if you want to consider that alternative before possibly giving in to surgery: Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy: Does It Work?