Late Surgical Results of Reattachment to Bone in Repair of Chronic Lateral Epicondylitis

Author(s): Pruzansky ME, Gantsoudes GD, Watters N

Source: Am J Orthop 38(6):295-299, 2009.

Lateral epicondylitis can be challenging and frustrating to treat.  Surgical treatments and techniques can vary as well as the timing of surgical intervention.  Lateral epicondylitis cases that are refractory to conservative treatment may require primary repair or tendon grafting to reattach the extensor origin. 
From 1986 to 2005, all surgically treated cases of lateral epicondylitis were reviewed for this study.  This included 24 patients who were treated with surgical debridement and direct repair to bone.   The extensor tendon origin was repaired using bone tunnels (18 elbows), suture anchors (3 elbows), and autologous tendon graft and suture anchors (3 elbows). 

Recovery to a pain free elbow was 4.3 months for patients with simple repair and 2.75 month for graft repair.   Average follow up was 64 months and all patients reported their outcome as good or excellent and were satisfied with outcome.  Further studies need to be performed including a randomized trial to assess a standard treatment protocol for tennis elbow.   This retrospective reviews offers little in terms of new information on the condition.