Arthroscopic technique for medial epicondylitis: technique and safety analysis

Alan Zonno, Jennifer Manuel, Gregory Merrell, Paul Ramos, Edward Akelman, Manuel F DaSilva
Arthroscopy 2010, 26 (5): 610-6

PURPOSE: The goals of this study are to report on a novel arthroscopic technique for the treatment of medial epicondylitis and to further describe the anatomic relations between the site of arthroscopic debridement and both the ulnar nerve and medial collateral ligament (MCL) complex.

METHODS: Arthroscopic debridement of the medial epicondyle was performed on 8 fresh-frozen cadaveric specimens. Each specimen was dissected, and the shortest distance from the debridement site to both the ulnar nerve and MCL complex was measured with a 3-dimensional motion-tracking system.

RESULTS: The mean distance between the debridement site and the ulnar nerve was 20.8 mm (range, 14.4 to 25.1 mm), and the mean distance between the medial debridement site and the origin of the anterior bundle of the MCL was 8.3 mm (range, 5.9 to 10.4 mm).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that arthroscopic debridement of the medial epicondyle can be performed with low risk of injury to the ulnar nerve or MCL complex.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This cadaveric study indicates a potential role for elbow arthroscopy in the surgical management of refractory medial epicondylitis.

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