Percutaneous ultrasonic tenotomy for chronic elbow tendinosis: A prospective study

Darryl E. Barnes, James M. Beckley, Jay Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Background: Elbow tendinopathy is the most common cause of elbow pain affecting active populations. Surgical excision is reserved for patients with refractory symptoms. Percutaneous ultrasonic tenotomy performed under local anesthesia also removes degenerated tissue and therefore provides an alternative treatment option to surgical excision. This investigation prospectively documented the safety and 1-year efficacy of ultrasonic percutaneous tenotomy performed by a single operator. Methods: Nineteen patients, aged 38 to 67years, in whom >6months of conservative management for medial (7) or lateral (12) elbow tendinopathy had failed were prospectively studied. All patients were treated with percutaneous ultrasonic tenotomy of the elbow by a single operator. Visual analog scale (VAS) for pain, the 11-item version of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (Quick DASH) index, and the Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS) were assessed by an independent observer before treatment and at 6weeks, 3months, 6months, and 12months after treatment. Results: No procedural complications occurred. Total treatment time was <15minutes, and ultrasonic energy time averaged 38.6 ± 8.8seconds per procedure. Average VAS scores were significantly improved from 6.4 to 2.6 at 6 weeks and were 0.7 at 12 months (. P<.0001). Similar improvement occurred with the Quick DASH (pretreatment, 44.1; 12 months, 8.6, P<.0001) and MEPS (pretreatment, 59.1; 12 months, 83.4; P<.0001). Conclusion: Percutaneous ultrasonic tenotomy performed under local anesthesia appears to be a safe and effective treatment option for chronic, refractory lateral or medial elbow tendinopathy up to 1 year after the procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Golfer's elbow
  • Tendinopathy
  • Tennis elbow
  • Tenotomy
  • Ultrasonic
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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