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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a nerve-compression condition brought on by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow. The ulnar nerve passes below the bone on the inner portion of the elbow, commonly called the “funny bone.” It is especially vulnerable to compression because it passes through a narrow space with very little soft tissue to protect it. 

Symptoms of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Each person experiences symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome differently so it is important to see a specialist for individualized care. Generally, patients may experience symptoms after sitting with the elbow on an arm rest or repeatedly bending and straightening the elbow or holding the elbow in a bent position for a period of time, such as when holding a phone or sleeping. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain, numbness and/or tingling in the ring and little fingers
  • Weakness while pinching
  • Occasional clumsiness and/or a tendency to drop things

In severe cases, sensation may be lost and the muscles in the hand may lose bulk and strength.

Treatment by Our Peripheral Nerve Specialists

If your symptoms are severe, do not improve or are causing issues with daily living, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive cubital tunnel release surgery. Our team of peripheral nerve surgical specialists at Neurosurgery Spine & Associates offer these advanced treatment options.

Our surgeons make a small incision in the elbow and use a miniaturized camera to view the ligament “roof” of the cubital tunnel. The ligament is cut and divided to increase the size of the tunnel and decrease pressure on the nerve. As the ligament begins to heal, new tissue grows across the division and allows more space for the ulnar nerve to slide through. You may need to wear a splint, limit lifting and elbow movements for a few weeks and undergo some physical therapy. 

Make an Appointment at Neurosurgery & Spine Associates

For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome, call our peripheral nerve specialists at Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, formerly the Brain & Spine Institute, at 678-312-2700. We also offer a convenient online form and our expert staff will contact you.

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