What is tennis elbow surgery?
Surgery for tennis elbow takes out damaged parts of tendons from the elbow. Your doctor may also reattach healthy tendon to the bone. Tendons connect muscle to bone.
Your doctor will make one small cut, called an incision, over the bony area on the outside of your elbow. He or she will then take out the damaged part of the tendon. Your doctor will close the incision with stitches or staples. The incision will leave a scar that usually fades over time.
After surgery, you may go through a rehabilitation program (rehab). After rehab, you will probably be able to use your elbow and arm without pain. You probably will be able to return to normal activities, such as playing tennis and other sports.
You will go home on the day of the surgery. You should be able to return to daily activities in about 2 to 6 weeks. How soon you can go back to work depends on your job. You should be able to play sports again in 4 to 6 months. You may need a brace at work. You also may need a brace when you play sports that stress the elbow and forearm, such as tennis.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Preparing for surgery
- You may need to shower or bathe with a special soap the night before and the morning of your surgery. The soap contains chlorhexidine. It reduces the amount of bacteria on your skin that could cause an infection after surgery.
- Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
- Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
- Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
- Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.
What happens on the day of surgery?
Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.
At the hospital or surgery center
Bring a picture ID.
The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.
The surgery will take about 45 minutes.
When should you call your doctor?
- You have questions or concerns.
- You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
- You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
- You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.
Where can you learn more?
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