What Is the Typical Procedure for Cubital Tunnel Surgery?


Quick Answer

Surgery for cubital tunnel syndrome involves relieving pressure on the ulnar nerve through one of three types of procedures, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In a cubital tunnel release, the surgeon cuts the ligament overlying the cubital tunnel. In an ulnar nerve anterior transposition, the surgeon moves the ulnar nerve to a new place to avoid painful catching. In a medial epicondylectomy, the surgeon removes part of the medial epicondyle, which also prevents painful catching.

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Full Answer

Most surgeries for cubital tunnel syndrome are outpatient procedures and generally have good outcomes, states the AAOS. A patient becomes a candidate for surgery if nonsurgical methods of treatment fail, the ulnar nerve is very compressed or the compression is causing muscle weakness or damage. Patients with very bad compression of the nerve or with muscle wasting may continue to experience symptoms after surgery. Most patients need to wear a splint for several weeks after the operation and require physical therapy to regain arm strength and motion.

Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs when the ulnar nerve becomes compressed or irritated at the elbow, explains the AAOS. Symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome include numbness and tingling in the ring and little fingers, difficulty moving those fingers and weakening of grip strength.

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