AUSTIN, Texas, April 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Tennis elbow, the painful chronic condition that affects up to 3 percent of the U.S. adult population, can be effectively treated through transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE), an image-guided, non-surgical treatment that decreases abnormal blood flow to the injured area to reduce inflammation and pain, according to research presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting. The condition, known as lateral epicondylitis, stems from repetitive stress from activities such as sports, typing and knitting, and the injury impacts basic tasks that affect job performance and quality of life.
"Tennis elbow can be difficult to treat, leaving many patients unable to perform the simplest tasks. With this frustration, many patients turn to invasive major surgery after years of failed physical therapy and medication use," said Yuji Okuno, MD, PhD, founder of the Okuno Clinic in Japan and lead author of the study.
The team conducted a prospective study in 52 patients with tennis elbow who did not find relief from other forms of treatment. The patients received TAE between March 2013 and October 2017. The researchers found statistically significant reductions in pain-rating scores, using methods including the Quick Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand scores; visual analog scale pain rating scores; Patient-rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation scores; and pain-free grip strength. Additionally, images taken in 32 patients two years after undergoing TAE showed an improvement in tendinosis and tear scores.
The treatment takes approximately one hour and requires only a needle hole to access the radial artery in the wrist under local anesthesia. A catheter is moved through the wrist to the elbow where the inflamed blood vessels are embolized, preventing excessive blood flow to the affected part of the elbow. The treatment is safe and effective and doesn't require physical therapy. No adverse events were observed and no patients experienced negative effects to the surrounding bones, cartilage or muscles.
While pain is a hallmark symptom, chronic tennis elbow can cause loss of grip and arm strength, limited use of the arm, and burning sensations on the outer portion of the arm.
SOURCE Society of Interventional Radiology