Arthroscopic versus percutaneous release of common extensor origin for treatment of chronic tennis elbow.
Lateral epicondylitis is a common orthopedic problem. Rest, activity modification, and conservative therapies are generally efficacious in relieving symptoms in the majority of patients; however, a small percentage of people will experience refractory pain and require surgical intervention to alleviate their discomfort. Surgical release of the common extensor origin can be done through an open, percutaneous, or arthroscopic approach. This prospective study includes 33 patients with chronic resistant lateral epicondylitis who had received conservative treatment including modification of activity and 2 injections of 80 mg of hydrocortisone, for more than 6 months, aiming to compare two different techniques of treatment. The first group included 14 patients with a mean age of 42 years treated by arthroscopic release of common extensor origin. The second group included 19 patients with a mean age of 48 years treated by percutaneous tenotomy. The mean follow up was 12 months for the arthroscopic group and 10 months for the percutaneous tenotomy group. The results were evaluated according to the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score and the visual analogue scale (VAS). In the first group (treated by arthroscopy), the average DASH score improved from 72 to 48 and the average VAS improved from 9.1 to 2. In the second group (treated by percutaneous tenotomy), the average DASH score improved from 70 to 50 and the average VAS improved from 9 to 2.1. Concerning patient satisfaction after surgery, in the first group 7 patients (50%) were pleased, 6 (42.85%) were satisfied and 1 case (7.14%) was not satisfied. In the second group, 7 patients (36.84%) were pleased, 10(52.63%) were satisfied and 2 cases (10.52%) were not satisfied. Both arthroscopic and percutaneous release of the common extensor origin can be effective in treatment of lateral epicondylitis. Arthroscopic treatment of lateral epicondylitis gives more favorable results than percutaneous tenotomy. Although technically more difficult than percutaneous tenotomy, arthroscopy has the advantage of visualization of the pathology and much better improvement of elbow functions.