Arthroscopic Surgery Eases Tough-to-Treat Tennis Elbow

The condition can come from any repetitive arm movement, experts note

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SUNDAY, July 15, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Arthroscopic surgery can offer long-term pain reduction and increased mobility for people with tennis elbow, U.S. researchers report.

Of the 30 patients who underwent the surgery and were followed by the researchers for almost 11 years, 93 percent said they would have the procedure again, according to a study slated for presentation Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

An arthroscope is a tiny tube with lenses, a video camera and a small light that allows surgeons to see and work inside a joint without making a big incision. According to the researchers, arthroscopic surgery speeds rehabilitation and has fewer complications than open surgery.

In the study, a team led by Dr. Champ L. Baker III, an orthopaedic resident at the University of Pittsburgh, followed 30 patients who underwent surgery for tennis elbow for 130 months. The patients were enrolled through Hughston Clinic in Columbus, Ga.

"This is the first longitudinal study of arthroscopic treatment of tennis elbow," said Baker in a prepared statement. "The initial success from our original short-term study was maintained long-term. I am happy to say that arthroscopic release is a good treatment option for lingering tennis elbow."

Baker recommends the surgery for people who have suffered with the condition for more than a year but have found no relief through other approaches, including rest.

Tennis elbow results from repetitive motions with the arm extended and the wrist moving up and down. In addition to playing tennis, lifting heavy boxes, long-term keyboard use and shaking hands on the campaign trail can all cause the condition.

More information

To learn more about elbow injuries and disorders, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCE: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, news release, July 14, 2007


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