Background: Recalcitrant lateral epicondylitis (LE) is a common debilitating condition, with numerous treatment options of varying success. An injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) has been shown to improve LE, although it is unclear whether the method of needling used in conjunction with a PRP injection is of clinical importance.
Purpose: To determine whether percutaneous needle tenotomy is superior to percutaneous needle fenestration when each is combined with a PRP injection for the treatment of recalcitrant LE.
Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3.
Methods: A total of 93 patients with recalcitrant LE were treated with a PRP injection and percutaneous needle fenestration (n = 45) or percutaneous needle tenotomy (n = 48) over a 5-year study interval. Preoperative patient data, including visual analog scale for pain (VAS-P), Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH), and Patient-Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation (PRTEE) scores and grip strength, were obtained from a chart review and compared with postoperative values obtained prospectively. Secondary outcomes included the incidence of complications, need for additional interventions, return to work, and patient satisfaction.
Results: At a mean follow-up of 40 months, significant improvements in VAS-P (mean, -6.1; 95% CI, -6.8 to -5.5; P < .0001), QuickDASH (mean, -46; 95% CI, -52 to -40; P < .0001), and PRTEE (mean, -57; 95% CI, -64 to -50; P < .0001) scores and grip strength (mean, +6.1 kg; 95% CI, 4.9 to 7.3; P < .0001) were observed across the entire study cohort, with no significant differences noted between the fenestration and tenotomy groups. Nine of 45 patients (22%) underwent additional procedures to treat recurrent symptoms in the fenestration group compared with 5 of 48 patients (10%) in the tenotomy group (P = .05). No complications occurred in any patients, and no patients expressed dissatisfaction with their treatment course.
Conclusion: A PRP injection with concomitant percutaneous needling is an effective treatment for recalcitrant LE, with sustained improvements in pain, strength, and function demonstrated at a mean follow-up of longer than 3 years. Although the method of concomitant needling does not appear to have a significant effect on treatment outcomes, more aggressive needle tenotomy is less likely to require conversion to open tenotomy than needle fenestration in the short term to midterm.
Gaspar, Michael P.; Motto, Michael A.; Lewis, Sarah; Jacoby, Sidney M.; Culp, Randall W.; Osterman, A. Lee; and Kane, Patrick M., "Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection With Percutaneous Needling for Recalcitrant Lateral Epicondylitis: Comparison of Tenotomy and Fenestration Techniques." (2017). Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Faculty Papers. Paper 106.
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