Ulnar nerve decompression

What is it?

You might require surgery if you suffer from increased pressure on the ulnar nerve (also called cubital tunnel syndrome) which normally causes symptoms of numbness or tingling in your ring and little fingers. In severe cases you might experience loss of strength in the hand or weakness in gripping.

Commonly these symptoms come on at night or when the elbow is bent for a period of time, for example when reading a book.

Ulnar nerve decompression surgery helps to prevent further damage to the nerve and weakness of the muscles in the hand.

Diagnosis and treatment options

Your specialist will examine you and ask you to demonstrate certain movements to check how well your elbow is working.

You might need some additional tests:

  • Nerve conduction study
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

The surgeon will make a small incision on the back of the elbow. The scar tissue that is pressing on the nerve is released carefully and the skin closed with dissolvable stitches.

The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic (meaning you are asleep for the procedure) as a daycase which means you can go home on the same day. Recovery of the tingling symptoms is often instantaneous, but the wound needs protecting for two weeks whilst it heals.


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