Ulnar nerve release surgery

This page explains ulnar nerve release surgery at The Holly Private Hospital.

The ulnar nerve goes around the back of the inner elbow, an area which is sometimes referred to as the funny bone. The ulnar nerve then goes through a tight tunnel between the forearm muscles.

Cubital tunnel syndrome occurs with increased pressure on the ulnar nerve, which can result in numbness in your ring finger and little finger.

However, this can be resolved with ulnar nerve release surgery.

How is an ulnar nerve release surgery performed?

Consult a surgeon to ask any questions about this procedure which helps to prevent further damage to the nerve. If you have the operation in a timely fashion, numbness in the hand may improve. The operation takes up to three-quarters of an hour and a variety of anaesthetics are available.

To perform the operation your surgeon will cut any tight tissue which is compressing the nerve over the back, the inner side of your elbow. Sometimes in the course of the procedure, a piece of bone is removed or a nerve is shifted to lie in front of the elbow.

What are the alternatives to ulnar nerve release surgery?

If you have mild symptoms which mostly happen during the night, using a splint may help to hold your elbow straight while you are in bed.

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to return home the same day. Keep your arm elevated for the first couple of days. To prevent stiffness it is important to gently exercise your fingers, elbow and shoulder. Regular exercise will help you to return to normal activities but before exercising, ask a medical professional for advice.

Your symptoms may improve for up to six months.

Acknowledgements: EIDO Healthcare Limited

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