Author(s): Macadam SA, Gandhi R, Bezuhly M, Lefaivre KA
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Abstract PURPOSE: Optimal surgical management of cubital tunnel syndrome remains uncertain despite the publication of numerous case series, observational studies, systematic reviews, and, in recent years, randomized controlled studies. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to compare simple decompression to anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve for the treatment of this condition, using comparative trials and randomized controlled trials. METHODS: Computerized database searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central, and all relevant surgical archives were performed. Studies involving adults with cubital tunnel syndrome in whom surgical intervention was simple decompression or anterior transposition (subcutaneous or submuscular) were included. Analysis was limited to randomized controlled trials and comparative observational studies. Included studies were assessed for quality, heterogeneity, and publication bias. Odds ratios of clinical improvement comparing simple decompression to anterior transposition (submuscular or subcutaneous) were calculated for each study. RESULTS: Ten studies involving a total of 449 simple decompressions, 342 subcutaneous transpositions, and 115 submuscular transpositions were included. There was little evidence of publication bias or statistical study heterogeneity. Odds of improvement with simple decompression versus anterior transposition were 0.751, 95\% confidence interval (0.542, 1.040). Subanalyses on the basis of transposition technique (subcutaneous or submuscular) and study quality did not render a statistically significant result. CONCLUSIONS: This report represents the best cumulative evidence to date examining the surgical management of cubital tunnel syndrome. In this study, we found no statistically significant difference, but rather a trend toward an improved clinical outcome with transposition of the ulnar nerve as opposed to simple decompression. Additional prospective, randomized studies that use reproducible preoperative and postoperative objective measures might add statistical power to this finding.
This article was published in J Hand Surg Am
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access