Percutaneous extensor tenotomy for chronic tennis elbow using an 18G needle.
Tennis elbow is a common orthopaedic problem presenting in office orthopaedics, but its exact patho-aetiology has not been identified to date. It is treated operatively when conservative measures including multiple local steroid injections are not helpful to the patients. This was a retrospective study to assess the outcome of tennis elbow patients on whom percutaneous release of the common extensor origin was performed using an 18 gauge hypodermic needle. 17 patients with 21 elbows were included in the study. Data was collected by going through the patients' medical records, and follow -up by questionnaire mailed to the patient's home, to assess the outcome and patient satisfaction with the procedure. 14 of the 21 (66.7%) elbows became completely pain free. The time taken to achieve a completely pain free elbow ranged from 1 day to 3 months (average 60.3 days). Those that did not achieve a pain free elbow had a residual pain of 1.5 to 8.5 on the VAS (average 2.64). 9 elbows (42.9%) had an excellent outcome, 7(33.3%) had good, 4(19%) had satisfactory and 1(4.8%) had poor outcomes. Tennis elbow probably results from degenerative tear of common extensor origin and a percutaneous tenotomy using an 18 gauge hypodermic needle is a simple, safe, patient friendly, effective and easily reproducible method of treating it in those who require surgery and can be done as an office procedure.