Cubital Tunnel Release – A Guide on What to Expect, and Surgical Benefits
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, or ulnar nerve entrapment, is a condition that is caused by the compression of your ulnar nerve inside the narrow space that runs along the elbow. Pain and numbness along the arm can range from moderate to severe, depending on the type of trauma inflicted on the nerve. To treat this condition, a surgical procedure known as cubital tunnel release may be recommended by your doctor. This surgery helps to decrease the pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow, subsequently relieving various and persistent symptoms.
Why is Cubital Tunnel Release Needed?
Cubital tunnel syndrome can develop gradually over time until patients decide to do something about it. Some of the reasons your doctor may recommend cubital tunnel release include:
- Symptoms are severe and impact your ability to perform daily activitie
- Symptoms have not responded to non-surgical treatment options or changes in activity
- Diagnostic testing has ruled out other conditions such as elbow arthritis
How to Prepare for Cubital Tunnel Release
If conservative methods such as modifying activities or using anti-inflammatory medications have not been successful at treating your cubital tunnel syndrome, you may benefit from undergoing cubital tunnel release. Here is a closer look at what you can expect before, during and after this procedure:
- Before the Surgery: Cubital tunnel release is usually performed as an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia. Avoid taking blood thinners for at least seven days prior to your scheduled procedure and avoid eating and drinking anything after midnight the night before, unless otherwise instructed. Arrange a ride with someone reliable to take you to and from your surgery. Ensure that this friend or family member is also be able to assist you with receiving discharge instructions.
- During the Surgery: Your surgeon will make one or two small incisions at the elbow where a specialized instrument with a camera attachment, called an endoscope, is inserted. With the help of a monitor, a specialized knife is used to cut the ligament that is compressing the cubital tunnel to create more space for the ulnar nerve. Once the procedure has been performed, the incision is closed with stitches and may be covered with a dressing.
- After the Surgery: You may be advised to keep your arm elevated above the heart for at least 24-48 hours after surgery to prevent swelling. Additionally, it may be necessary to wear a soft splint for a few weeks to encourage healing. With the help of physical therapy exercises, normal activities can be resumed soon after surgery but strenuous movements and activities should be avoided. Depending on your condition and circumstance, you may be able to return to work 1-2 weeks after surgery and expect pain and numbness to subside within a few months.
The Benefits of Cubital Tunnel Release
The main goal of cubital tunnel release is to expand the cubital tunnel to relieve some of the pressure off the ulnar nerve. After undergoing this minimally invasive surgical procedure, patients may expect the following benefits:
- Relieves pain and numbness
- Enhances comfort and mobility
- Prevents perpetual nerve damage
- Improves hand function
Over the course of two decades, Dr. Lewis has successfully diagnosed and treated many patients with various spine and brain conditions. In addition to being trained in several spinal treatment techniques and a leader in the development of specialized instruments, he is also a respected teacher and speaker, having written and co-written over 50 works in the field of neuroscience. Together, we can find a solution that works for you at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic.
Contact us today to learn more about cubital tunnel release or to schedule a consultation. We’ll find a solution that works for you. Call us at (601) 366-1011.