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The objective diagnosis of early tennis elbow by magnetic resonance imaging

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Geoff Hide


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Objective To identify the salient magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of tennis elbow. An objective diagnosis is important when managing work-related incapacity due to ill-defined lateral arm pain. Method Twenty-three symptomatic and 17 asymptomatic elbows in 20 patients with tennis elbow, no evidence of other pathology and no previous treatment were imaged using established MRI sequences. Results In the symptomatic elbows, the common extensor origin (CEO) showed signs of oedema in 23, thickening in 19, peri-tendon oedema in 3 and tears in 13 cases. More extensive abnormalities were demonstrated in only two elbows. Six out of 17 asymptomatic elbows also showed oedema in the CEO. Conclusions The CEO is confirmed as the primary site of MRI changes in tennis elbow. Oedema was commonly found in asymptomatic elbows, necessitating the presence of thickening or tears in the CEO tendon to objectively diagnose tennis elbow on MRI.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mackay D, Rangan A, Hide G, Hughes T, Latimer J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Occupational Medicine

Year: 2003

Volume: 53

Issue: 5

Pages: 309-312

ISSN (print): 0962-7480

ISSN (electronic): 1471-8405

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/occmed/kqg031


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