Tennis Elbow Release

The aims of a Tennis Elbow Release is to excise the diseased tendon tissue, which is the perceived source of the pain, and then create an environment for the normal tendon to heal back to the bone. This is done through a small incision, measuring approximately 3-4 cm over the bony prominence on the outer aspect of the elbow. The surgery is usually performed as a day case procedure and you are discharged from hospital in an elbow bandage with a physiotherapy programme which slowly encourages the elbow back to full function over a three month period. Failing to complete the physiotherapy programme, or indeed trying to return to full activity too soon, increases the risk of residual symptoms. Tennis elbow surgery is usually successful in 85 -90% of patients.

Information for patients / operative Information

Risks and complications

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve injury
  • Elbow stiffness
  • Continued discomfort

Before admission

  • Please bring any X-rays or scans with you to the hospital. This will usually be on a CD disc. These will not be needed if it was Mr. Falworth who organised the investigations.
  • No food for 6 hours, or drink for 4 hours, prior to surgery.
  • Please avoid smoking for 12 hours prior to surgery

In Hospital

  • Tennis elbow procedures are usually performed as a day case or as a single
  • overnight stay.
  • The incision is approximately 3-4 cm in length and will be closed with buried
  • dissolvable sutures and Steri-strips.
  • A splash proof dressing will be applied but the wound should remain dry for 10 days.
  • Prior to your discharge from hospital, a physiotherapist will demonstrate some simple exercises as part of your rehabilitation protocol. These exercises should be undertaken when you’re at home and will help your shoulder recover from the surgery before your outpatient physiotherapy commences.

What to Expect

  • Swelling; There is usually minimal swelling following the operation.
  • Pain; The operative site will be sore but should not be unduly painful.
  • Bleeding; There may be some oozing through the bandages but this should be minimal.

Post-operative care

  • The most important part of your post-operative care is to rest the elbow. A sling will be provided to help rest your elbow. This is usually used for the first 3 weeks following surgery.
  • The simple exercise programmes demonstrated by your physiotherapist should be followed to aid your recovery.
  • If necessary, simple oral analgesia can be used if there is any discomfort.
  • The wound should be kept dry for 10 days.
  • At ten days the dressings and paper Steristrips can be gently removed. If the wound is ‘dry’ then it is all right to wash the wound. If not, please consult Mr. Falworth or your GP for further advice.

Post-operative appointments

  • You will be reviewed in clinic approximately 3 weeks following your surgery.

Estimated return to functional activities

  • Driving 3 weeks
  • Light duties 4 weeks
  • Return to work Varies depending on occupation
  • Heavy Lifting 12+ weeks
  • Tennis 12-16 weeks