What is percutaneous tenotomy/tissue removal?

Tendons are strong tissues that attach muscles to bones. Tendinitis happens when you have swelling in your tendons. This leads to pain and discomfort when you move the joint where the tendon attaches. Your elbow is one of the most commonly affected joints. This condition occurs from overuse and misuse of the joint. If you have tendon pain in your elbow, the condition is known as tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis.

Your doctor will try several conservative treatments, such as rest, pain medication and immobilization. Then, you can your doctor can consider bigger options for treating tennis elbow. If the other treatments don't get rid of the pain, then your doctor may recommend a percutaneous tenotomy. In this procedure, the doctor breaks up and removes the tissue that's causing pain and irritation in your joint.

What to expect from percutaneous tenotomy/tissue removal

Percutaneous tenotomy is an outpatient procedure. It doesn't require you to be completely asleep. Instead, your doctor uses a numbing ingredient on your elbow. That way, you don't feel pain during the procedure.

After numbing your elbow, your doctor cleans and disinfects your skin. Using an ultrasound, they guide a needle into your elbow all the way to the bone. Once in the proper position, the doctor pokes multiple holes in the scar tissue to break it up. The needle sucks up the broken up tissue so that it won't cause any further irritation in your elbow.

Following the procedure, you may experience some pain in your elbow. Your doctor will prescribe you pain medication for the days after the surgery. Because the incision for a percutaneous tenotomy is so small, you'll experience a shorter healing time and be able to use your elbow sooner. Expect to resume normal athletic activities in two to four weeks.

Common conditions requiring percutaneous tenotomy/tissue removal

Percutaneous tenotomy or tissue removal is a procedure that doctors use to treat tendinitis in many joints. In addition to tennis elbow, this procedure treats:

  • Jumper's knee
  • Golfer's elbow
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Swimmer's shoulder

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