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Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

Time to functional recovery after arthroscopic surgery for tennis elbow

      Background

      This study evaluated recovery from chronic lateral epicondylitis after arthroscopic treatment.

      Methods

      Twenty-three consecutive patients (5 men, 18 women) with chronic lateral epicondylitis underwent arthroscopic surgery. Patients were a mean age of 49 years. Prospective outcome data were collected before the operation and at 1, 2, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after surgery. Outcomes were assessed using a visual analog scale (VAS: 0-100), grip strength percentage (compared with the unaffected side), the Japanese Orthopaedic Association elbow score, and the Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire.

      Results

      A mean VAS score at rest of 26 preoperatively improved to 8 (P = .0026), 6, and 3 at 1, 2, and 3 months after surgery, respectively. A mean VAS score during activity improved from 68 preoperatively to 35 (P < .001), 23, and 19 at 1, 2, and 3 months after surgery, respectively. Both VAS scores gradually decreased up to 24 months after surgery. The mean grip strength improved from 66.1% preoperatively to 88.7% at 2 months after surgery (P < .001). The mean Japanese Orthopaedic Association elbow score improved from 38 points preoperatively to 61 points at 1 month after surgery (P < .001). The mean Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score improved from 32 points preoperatively to 15 points at 3 months after surgery (P < .001).

      Conclusion

      Arthroscopic surgery for lateral epicondylitis provides significant improvement in pain and functional recovery up to 3 months after surgery. However, it takes more than 6 months for the VAS score during activity to fall below 10 points.

      Level of evidence

      Keywords

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