Tennis elbow treatment typically requires the patient to be stitched up and spend at least a night in the hospital for observation. The patient may also need to be on painkillers for as long as a month.
However, the Singapore General Hospital and the Mayo Clinic have pioneered a new method which does not require stitches. The new tennis elbow treatment takes just 15 to 20 minutes under local anaesthesia. After ultrasound imaging is used to identify the damaged tendon tissue, a probe about the size of a toothpick is inserted to remove it. In place of stitches, the patient only needs a simple adhesive bandage, and can be discharged on the same day.
Despite its name, tennis elbow is not caused by playing tennis. Tennis elbow occurs when the tendons in the elbow are overworked, usually due to repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. The extremely painful condition is most commonly seen among the middle-aged, between the ages of 35 and 55. Patients tend to be delivery personnel or those who do administrative work or plenty of housework. These people generally carry heavy loads.
With this new procedure, tennis elbow patients can be free from the debilitating pain when painkillers and tennis elbow physiotherapy treatment do not work. They need not be fearful of surgery as the new treatment can be done in an outpatient setting, which is both less painful and costly. Recovery is also much shorter, compared with traditional open surgery. After the procedure, the patient can then undergo gentle tennis elbow treatment exercises for a full recovery.
Watch the video below to see how the procedure is done: