As medicine advances, new treatments and procedures regularly come to fruition to provide patients with sometimes long-awaited relief. One of the more recent procedures becoming more commonplace in orthopedics is the Tenex procedure. This procedure was designed for patients who struggle with chronic tendon issues, namely tendinitis. Conservative management in the form of relative rest, anti-inflammatory medications, bracing, stretching, and formal physical therapy is still most often utilized to manage symptoms associated with tendinitis. However, in some cases these treatments are not sufficient in alleviating pain and dysfunction, at which point a Tenex procedure might be recommended if symptoms have persisted relentlessly for upwards of a year.
Common indications for this type of procedure are lateral and medial epicondylitis in the elbow, or Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow respectively. In the most stubborn cases, a Tenex procedure could provide the relief so long-awaited by patients.
Tenex (also referred to as percutaneous ultrasonic tenotomy) is a minimally invasive procedure performed using high-frequency ultrasound imaging to better visualize the irritated or damaged tendon through a small incision. Upon closer inspection, the damaged fibers can be debrided, or otherwise ‘cleaned up’ to allow for healthy tendinous tissue to remain. The procedure is completed under a local anesthetic rather than a general which further decreases the risk of complication. This procedure is typically performed at The Orthopaedic Surgery Center attached to our building and is a relatively quick procedure with patients going home the same day in relatively efficient fashion.
One important aspect to note regarding the Tenex procedure is that symptom relief is not immediate post-procedure. Rather, patients often experience a gradual improvement in symptoms over the course of 1-3 months following the procedure. In that time period, relative rest and activity modification is recommended with gradual resumption of regular activity to follow. Sometimes a course of formal physical therapy or a home exercise program is prescribed to facilitate recovery. In some cases, some kind of brace or support may be prescribed to help take stress off the surgical site. For example, a wrist brace may be recommended after a Tenex procedure for lateral epicondylitis to alleviate stress on the involved tendons.
If your nagging elbow pain has you at your wit’s end, give our office a call to get on the road to recovery today!
This blog is written by one of our very own-Morgan. She is a certified athletic trainer working in our clinic with our providers each and every day. She obtained a bachelor's degree in athletic training from Carroll University in Waukesha and a master's degree in Kinesiology from Michigan State University.