No Difference in Complication or Reoperation Rates Between Arthroscopic and Open Debridement for Lateral Epicondylitis: A National Database Study


      To compare complication rates and 5-year reoperation rates between open debridement (OD) and arthroscopic debridement (AD) for lateral epicondylitis.


      The PearlDiver MUExtr database (2010-2019) was reviewed for patients diagnosed with lateral epicondylitis (queried by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision [ICD-10] codes) undergoing OD or AD of the common extensor tendon without repair (queried by Current Procedural Terminology codes). Patients were stratified into 2 cohorts: those who underwent AD and those who underwent OD. Nonoperative treatment modalities were reported for both groups within 1 year before index procedure. The rates of 90-day postoperative complications were compared, and multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify risk factors for complications. The 5-year reoperation rates, using laterality-specific ICD-10 codes, were also compared between the 2 groups.


      In total, 19,280 patients (OD = 17,139, AD = 2,141) were analyzed in this study. The most common nonoperative treatments for patients who underwent OD or AD were corticosteroid injections (49.5% vs 43.2%), physical therapy (24.8% vs 25.7%), bracing (2.8% vs 3.2%), and platelet-rich plasma injections (1.3% vs 1.0%). There were no significant differences in radial nerve injuries, hematomas, surgical site infections, wound dehiscence, and sepsis events between the 2 procedures (P = .50). The 5-year reoperation rate was not significantly different between the AD (5.0%) and OD (3.9%) cohorts (P = .10).


      For lateral epicondylitis, both AD and OD of the extensor carpi radialis brevis (without repair) were found to have low rates of 90-day adverse events, with no significant differences between the 2 approaches. Similarly, the 5-year reoperation rate was low and not statistically different for those treated with OD or AD.

      Level of Evidence

      Level III, cross-sectional study.
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