Dr. Pickart offers treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome to the residents of Ventura, Camarillo, and the surrounding areas of California.
What Is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Cubital tunnel syndrome, also known as ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow, can cause discomfort in the elbow, wrist, hand, and/or fingers. The ulnar nerve is a major nerve which runs from the neck to the hand and which be constricted in one of several spots. The most common site of compression is at the cubital tunnel, located behind the medial epicondyle of the inner elbow—at the “funny bone.” If you’ve ever hit yourself in that area, you’re well aware of the shock-like sensation that it can convey. Cubital tunnel syndrome develops when the nerve becomes compressed in this spot.
Once the nerve passes the elbow, it travels underneath the muscles that are located on the inside of the forearm. Eventually, the nerve terminates in the small finger and half of the ring finger. Hence, many patients with cubital tunnel syndrome will notice pain, numbness, and tingling in these one and a half fingers.
What Causes Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Doctors are not always sure what causes cubital tunnel syndrome. However, the ulnar nerve is susceptible to compression and irritation, especially at the elbow.
What Are Some Common Causes for Nerve Pressure on the Elbow?
When the elbow is bent, it causes the ulnar nerve to stretch around the medial epicondyle, which is the elbow’s bony ridge. As a result, bending your elbow for hours on end can irritate the nerve or cause compression. Leaning on the elbow for a long duration can also place undue pressure on the nerve.
What Conditions Increase the Risk for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
People who develop cubital tunnel syndrome may have suffered one or more of the following conditions:
- A prior dislocation of the elbow
- Bone spurs
- Joint swelling
What Are the Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Generally, patients with cubital tunnel syndrome will experience an aching pain inside the elbow, along with numbness and tingling of the small finger and half of the ring finger. If the compression is severe or longstanding, patients may even notice difficulties with finger and hand movement. In very severe situations, muscle wasting can take place.
When Is Elbow Surgery Recommended for the Condition?
Surgical treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome is recommended if the patient has not gained any relief from nonsurgical alternatives or if the ulnar nerve is extremely compressed.
What Type of Elbow Surgeries Are Performed?
Surgical treatment options for cubital tunnel syndrome include the following:
- Cubital tunnel release: In this procedure, the roof of the cubital tunnel is incised, thereby enlarging the tunnel’s size and reducing pressure on the nerve. This is a good option in milder compressions.
- Medial epicondylectomy: During this surgery, the cubital tunnel is released. Additionally, a portion of the medial epicondyle is removed, so that the ulnar nerve does not snap over the bony prominence as the elbow is flexed.
- Ulnar nerve anterior transposition: After cubital tunnel release, the nerve is moved in front of the medial epicondyle. The nerve can then be resituated above, within, or beneath the forearm muscles. The hope is that the nerve’s transposition minimizes irritation to the ulnar nerve.
How Long Does Elbow Surgery Take for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?
Depending on the type of procedure, the surgery can take 30 to 90 minutes.
What Is Involved in the Recovery?
Surgical recovery, depending on the procedure, involves wearing a splint for several weeks after the operation. Physical therapy is also often recommended so you can regain normal arm functioning. The doctor will advise you on when you can resume regular activities.
What Are the Results of Elbow Surgery?
Usually, the results are good. However, you have to remember that nerves heal slowly. Therefore, it can take several months before you experience a full recovery.
How Much Does Treatment of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Cost in Ventura?
Usually, the surgical and non-surgical treatments for cubital tunnel syndrome are covered by your insurance company. Pickart Plastic Surgery currently works with most insurance carriers to ensure that patients can receive high quality treatment. Dr. Pickart also offers CareCredit® and Capital One® to provide financing options for patients.
If you are a resident of Ventura, Camarillo, or the surrounding areas in California and are considering cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, call Pickart Plastic Surgery at (805) 232-5688. Our talented staff members can answer all your questions and also schedule your consultation.