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I have talked to both my primary physician and an orthopedic surgeon. I have decided it's time to have tennis elbow release. Has anyone here ever had the surgery? I am wondering if anyone can give me any idea what to expect. Obviously, I asked my doctors about it, but there are some things you can find out from others' first hand experience. 

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No. It is not quite that invasive. I will quote a medical website with a brief description. 

Arthroscopic and Open Tennis Elbow Release
If you continue to have pain or if you cannot get back to your normal activities after nonoperative treatments, your doctor may offer you a surgery known as “arthroscopic tennis elbow release” or “open tennis elbow release.” During both of these procedures, the surgeon uses specially designed instruments to remove the degenerated portion of the ECRB tendon and sew the torn tendon and muscle back to the bone.  During both the arthroscopic and open operations, your surgeon will remove the degenerative, pain causing portion of the stitches that hold the ECRB muscle down to the bone. This will allow the two to grow and heal back together.

The arthroscopic surgery is completed using three or four ¼ inch incisions around the elbow, while the open procedure is carried out through a single ¾ inch incision directly over the injured tendon. There are benefits to both procedures, and your surgeon will discuss which option is best for you.

This is a day surgery procedure that typically takes less than one hour. You will be seen by an anesthesiologist prior to surgery, who will discuss the option of putting another kind of injection in your arm so that your whole arm goes to sleep prior to the surgery and stays asleep for 12 to 24 hours afterwards. Additionally, you will go to sleep with general anesthesia for the entirety of the surgery. 

The surgery takes less than one hour. When you wake up, you will have a sling and possibly a splint stabilizing your elbow. You will stay in the recovery room until your pain is controlled and you are ready to leave for home.

The healing process takes approximately three months. Your activities will be limited during this recovery period.

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