Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome is a condition in which the ulnar nerve (also known as the “funny bone”) becomes compressed at the elbow.  While this can occasionally occur due to direct trauma, this is more commonly a gradually developing condition.  Symptoms include numbness and, less commonly, pain along the inner part of the forearm extending predominantly into the ring and pinky fingers.  It is typically worse at night and many people also experience this when driving for long periods of time.

Does it require surgery?

Many with this problem will improve with rest, modifications of their work or driving environment (changing the height of your computer chair, ergonomic mouse, altering steering wheel height) and using an elbow splint at night to prevent bending of the elbow during sleep.  Treatment is also partially based on EMG testing which is performed to test the health and degree of compression of the nerve.

What type of surgery corrects Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

An ulnar nerve transposition is a 45 minute outpatient procedure that moves the nerve from its constricted ulnar tunnel (the funny bone part of the elbow) and into a different position on the elbow less prone to compression.  This requires an open incision on the inner part of the elbow as well as a splint for several weeks.  A short period of therapy is needed but full recovery can take at least 3 months.

Drs. Bak and Silas see and treat this problem frequently.