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2022 Oct




Long-Term Functional Outcomes Following Radiofrequency Microtenotomy for Lateral Epicondylitis of Elbow.



Background Lateral epicondylitis or 'Tennis elbow' is a common cause of elbow pain in the middle-aged group caused by tendinosis of the common extensor origin of the forearm muscles. Though no obvious aetiology is identified in most cases, it could be attributed to repetitive overuse of wrist extensors or supinator muscles. This condition is generally self-limiting but may become persistent in a few cases. Radiofrequency microtenotomy (RFM) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for recalcitrant lateral epicondylitis of the elbow. This involves targeted coblation of pathological tissue at significantly lower temperatures. Objectives The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy and report long-term results and recurrences in patients treated with RFM. Methods We present long-term results with a mean eight-year follow-up in a case series of 19 patients. All patients had a minimum of six months (mean 23.25 months and range: 6-36 months) of conservative management which included steroid injections prior to being offered RFM. This was a retrospective case series of 20 elbows (in 19 patients) who underwent RFM. The majority of patients (65%) were females. The operation was carried out in the dominant arm in 55% of patients. Results Results were analysed by comparing pre-operative and post-operative QuickDASH scores (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand Score) obtained at one year and eight years post-operatively. We found an improvement in QuickDASH scores from a mean of 61.7 pre-operatively to 18.9 (p-value < 0.0001) and 8.5 (p-value < 0.0001) at one year and eight years, respectively. The mean pain component of the QuickDASH scores decreased from 4.8 to 2.0 and 1.5, respectively, at one year and eight years (p-value < 0.0001). More than 83% of the patients had excellent to good functional improvement. Conclusion RFM is a reliable modality for treating recalcitrant lateral epicondylitis of the elbow with excellent long-term results.