Author(s): Abuelem T, Ehni BL
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: The surgical treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome by various techniques is often met with disappointing results. An optimal treatment is not agreed upon. The authors propose a collection of techniques which they believe optimizes outcome and minimizes iatrogenic injuries. METHODS: A combination of a novel skin incision which minimizes scar and iatrogenic cutaneous nerve injury, a technique of in situ decompression, and an atraumatic technique of ensuring complete nerve exploration proximal and distal to the incision is presented; these methods have been in use by the senior author for a number of years. RESULTS: Numerous reports have demonstrated that the success of in situ ulnar nerve release by division of Osborne's fascia is equivalent to the success rates of more invasive operations for the condition of ulnar neuropathy. The authors share this view in the majority of cases of ulnar neuropathy, and they present a technique that can be expanded, if necessary, on the basis of surgical findings, with only a few indications for the greater epicondylectomy or transposition procedures. CONCLUSION: The authors present a means of treating cubital tunnel syndrome. Failure of in situ cubital tunnel release, as with failure of any ulnar procedure, can be attributed to intraoperative ulnar nerve injury, injury to the medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve, inadequate longitudinal exploration and release, scar formation with recurrent compression and/or traction, and the possibility that decompression could lead to iatrogenic symptomatic nerve subluxation. The authors discuss the rationale for a minimalist open surgical approach for the treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome, and each of these concerns is addressed.
This article was published in Neurosurgery
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access