When the non-operative treatment of tennis elbow fails to improve the symptoms a surgical procedure can be performed. Many different techniques are available. The percutaneous release of the common extensor origin was first presented by Loose at a meeting in 1962. Despite the simplicity of the operation and its effectiveness in relieving pain with minimal scarring this procedure is still not widely accepted. This study presents the long-term results of percutaneous tennis elbow release in patients when conservative measures including local steroid injections have failed to relieve the symptoms.

Patients and Methods:

Percutaneous release of the extensor origin was performed in 24 consecutive patients (seven male and seventeen female), providing 30 elbows for this study. The age of the patients ranged from 26 to 71 years with mean age of 55 years. The technique involved a day case procedure in the operating theatre using local anaesthesia without the need for a tourniquet. The lateral elbow was infiltrated with 5mls 1% lignocaine and 5mls 0.5% bupivicaine with 1:200,000 adrenaline. All operations were performed by the senior author. The patients were assessed post operatively by using DASH (disabilities of arm, shoulder and hand) score and Oxford elbow scores. The mean follow up period was 36 months (1-71months).


Twenty one patients returned the DASH and Oxford elbow questionnaires. Four patients were lost in the follow up. The post operative outcome was good to excellent in most patients. Eighty seven percent of patients had complete pain relief. The mean post-op DASH score was 8.47 (range 0 to 42.9) and the mean Oxford elbow score was 42.8 (range 16 to 48). There were no complications reported. All the patients returned to their normal jobs, hobbies such as gardening, horse riding and playing musical instruments.


In our experience Percutaneous release of the epicondylar muscles for humeral epicondylitis has a high rate of success, is relatively simple to perform, is done as a day case procedure and has been without complications. Percutaneous release is a viable treatment option after failed conservative management of tennis elbow.

Keywords: Tennis elbow, percutaneous, release, tendinitis, Mill's Manipulation, local anaesthesia.
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