What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, known formally as Lateral Epicondylitis, is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in the arm are overused. The pain associated with tennis elbow is experienced on the outside portion of your arm, near the elbow. This injury is commonly experienced by people that play a lot of tennis or racket sports, hence the name “tennis elbow“. However, any repetitive motion that requires twisting of the wrist can lead to Lateral Epicondylitis. When tendons and muscles of the arm are repetitively used, small tendon tears can develop, causing pain and irritation. Symptoms usually worsen over time. The pain can radiate from the elbow region down the forearm, extending to the wrist and hand. Tennis elbow can also lead to a weak grasp.
Who Can Get Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is most commonly associated with:
- adults ages 30-50
- frequently playing racket sports
- occupations that involve repetitive motions, for example: plumbers, painters, carpenters, butchers, cooks, etc.
Who May Benefit from Tennis Elbow Surgery?
Tennis Elbow can be a painful condition. If a more conservative treatment did not improve your symptoms, you may be a good candidate for surgery at MidAmerica Plastic Surgery. Surgery may be an option if:
- you have been diagnosed with Lateral Epicondylitis and your symptoms are bothersome.
- a more conservative treatment was not successful.
- you are a non-smoker.
- you do not have any medical conditions that impair your healing ability.
If left untreated, tennis elbow can result in chronic pain. Also, gripping and lifting can become painful and difficult.
Before the Tennis Elbow Surgery
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation, as needed.
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications as recommended.
- Stop smoking well in advance of your surgery.
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding (if OK with your primary care physician. If you cannot stop please let us know).
- Get your pre- and post-surgery checklist.
The day of the Tennis Elbow Surgery
- Completed as an outpatient or with hospital stay depending on your particular needs.
- Nothing to eat or drink the day of surgery.
- You will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours.
After the Tennis Elbow Surgery
Recovery is patient dependent.
Complications from Tennis Elbow Surgery
As with any procedure there are risks. Fortunately, with tennis elbow surgery, these risks are minimal. These include, but are not limited to:
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Blood clots
- Anesthesia risks
- Unfavorable scarring
- Change in skin sensation
- Skin contour irregularities
- Skin discoloration/swelling
- Poor healing of incisions
- Unexpected hand swelling
- Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Damage to deeper structures — such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and lungs — can occur and may be temporary or permanent
- Pain, which may persist
- Possibility of revisional surgery
Dr. Ryan Diederich is a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in a range of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery procedures at Mid-America Institute of Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery in Glen Carbon, IL. If you’re looking for a plastic surgeon east of St. Louis, you can schedule a consultation online schedule a consultation online, or call us at (618) 288-7855 to schedule an appointment.
*This article is intended as a guideline only. This is not intended as medical advice. There are no guarantees written or implied from the information presented here. Only a consultation can provide an appropriate evaluation and discussion regarding any procedure. Refer to your physician for medical decision making and advice.