nerve is a nerve which supplies sensation and strength to
a portion of the hand and forearm. It may become compressed
or trapped as it courses past the olbow. Ulnar nerve
decompression at the elbow is performed when the ulnar nerve
is entrapped at the elbow. The pressure on the ulnar
nerve may cause pain or numbness and tingling in the little
finger and half of the ring finger. There may be weakness
as well. Several surgical procedures are available to
relieve the entrapment of the nerve at the elbow. The
nerve may be simply decompressed. Alternatively, the
nerve may be decompressed and transposed (moved) to a new
location. A medial epicondylectomy (removal of a bony
prominence in the elbow, which may be bruising the nerve)
may be performed.
nerve decompression has a lower success rate than carpal tunnel
release. Risks of the procedure can be broken
down into two categories, 1) those related to the operative
site, and 2) those related to the risks of anesthesia.
related to the operative site:
Exposure: The patient is placed in a supine position
(on their back). In this position,
there can be pressure sores to the skin and pressure
injuries to nerves. During surgical dissection,
injury to muscle, nerves, blood vessels, and the elbow joint
in the area can occur.
injuries: If there is any injury to the nerves in the
forearm or elbow, the consequences may involve loss
of sensation, increased burning sensation, paralysis and
Risks: These include general difficulties,
such as bleeding, infection, stroke, paralysis, coma and
death. There is also the possibility that the surgery
may not relieve the symptoms for which the procedure was
performed. The problem for which the surgery was performed
may recur, requiring additional surgery in the future.
In addition, although every attempt is made to protect all
areas of the body from pressure on nerves, skin and bones,
injuries to these areas can occur, particularly with prolonged
A general anesthetic is often used. Although
unlikely, blood clots in the legs could develop, heart attack
and reaction to the anesthetic may occur, and reaction to
blood transfusion ( if given) may result.
shall be no heavy lifting until cleared by the surgeon.
Be patient with the nerve healing. Numbness may persist
for a long time or indefinitely, or it may improve.
The following is a list of suggestions that should help
speed your recovery and give you every possible chance for
the best results from your surgery.
upon discharge, contact our office and set up an appointment
for staple removal if one has not already been made.
it easy until seen by the physician. This does not
mean bed rest, but athletic activities during this period
are definitely not recommended. Please give your
incision a chance to heal. Avoid bending.
your sling as prescribed by your surgeon.
nothing heavier than a half gallon of milk until seen
by your doctor.
hour, while awake, wiggle the fingers, and gently squeeze
a foam cushion or sponge.
you get home, you may begin walking up to one mile per
may walk up or down steps as often as you like.
Please take them smoothly and slowly.
driving until OK with your physician. This
applies during the first month after surgery.
may shower after you go home unless otherwise instructed.
Cover the incision with plastic wrap before the shower
and remove it afterward. Change dressing immediately.
Tub baths are not advisable. You may shower without
covering the incision one week after the sutures are out.
Follow instructions concerning care of tape strips, stitches
or staples. Your surgeon or nurse clinician
will explain the techniques used in the closure of your
activities are permitted.
you notice swelling, redness or opening of the incision,
or if there is any clear fluid draining from it, please
contact your surgeon immediately! If you develop
a fever, stiff neck or chills, contact the office immediately.
Take your temperature at 4:00 PM daily until the clips
are removed. Call if greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
you have any questions, call our office, and for after
hours emergencies, call the after hours number.
your medications prescribed on discharge, as directed.
takes 6 - 18 months for a nerve to heal. During
that time you may experience numbness, tingling, fleeting
pain, or creepy/crawly sensations.