Tennis Elbow Surgery


If you have a tennis elbow you might be experiencing pain that starts at your elbow and might radiate through the forearm and wrist. You might experience this pain after twisting your hand, wrist, or forearm multiple times throughout the day. Many people experience this when using a screwdriver or scissors, gardening, or playing sports. The pain increases as you continue to do these activities. Your doctor may suggest tennis elbow surgery to alleviate your symptoms.

How to Prepare for Tennis Elbow Surgery

You will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight the night before your surgery. To prepare for your surgery, we may ask that you stop taking any medications like blood thinners or aspirins. You may want to get your home ready since you won’t be able to reach very high cabinets or do activities that may require you to pull. Locate loose shirts that button or zip in the front for you to wear as you recover from surgery.


There are two types of surgery both of which will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes:

  • Arthroscopically.​ This minimally invasive, outpatient surgery is conducted with a few small incisions (aids in decreasing your chance of infection) while still providing us access to cut or release the tendon, remove inflamed tissue from the tendon, and fix (reattaching) the tendon tears. After you wake up from surgery you will be able to return home although you still may require additional help at home.
  • Open Surgery. ​Due to the severity of your injury, we might suggest this method to allow him to see your elbow rather than seeing it on a screen as he might arthroscopically. We will be able to locate all inflamed tissue and the tendon causing all your pain. We will then release the tendon and remove all inflamed tissue from the tendon or fix the tears.


After surgery, your arm may be in a splint for one to two weeks. After your sutures and splint are removed you will begin physical therapy exercises which will help your elbow restore flexibility. Exercises to help with strength will begin two months after surgery. Usually, patients can return to physical activity four to six months after surgery.


Damaged parts of the tendon are removed from the elbow and might reattach the healthy tendon to the bone. This will help you move your arm and elbow with less pain after rehab.


There is a risk of infection, blood loss, and nerve damage as with any surgery. Surgery may not completely cure the pain problem. You may still experience pain or there’s a possibility of your pain returning.


Surgery is considered successful in 80-90% of patients, however, it’s not uncommon to see a loss of strength.