Cubital Tunnel Release Surgery...anyone?

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Date Joined Sep 2009
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   Posted 8/27/2011 10:34 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi all, I hope today finds everyone doing well. I would also like to send out prayers to all of those in Hurricane Irenes are in our thoughts!
I have been having alot of issues with my right arm and hand. Started out with trigger finger in my ring finger. It locks up every night and throughout the day. It's very annoying and painful. I was also having alot of pain and numbness, dropping things etc.
They sent me for a nerve conduction study and it came back as carpal tunnel (moderate) and severe cubital tunnel. I guess the ulnar nerve is trapped and being compressed to the point that they could not get any nerve conduction from that spot at all.
The orthopedic surgeon has set me up to have the trigger finger released, the carpal tunnel released and to transpose the nerve to the other side of my elbow bone (to release the cubital tunnel?) I am scheduled to have all this done on the 7th of Sept.
My question is has anyone had this done? Did it work? I have heard some horror stories about surgery making things worse! The Doc says I have alot of nerve damage already and it's just going to get worse. I have alot of pain in my hand and a ton of pain in my elbow.
Any input would be much appreciated. I guess the fact that it is my right hand and arm has me even more concerned ( I am right handed). Thanks in advance family and I hope everyone has a great weekend!
Gentle Hugs,

Fibromyalgia, Chronic daily headaches, Migraines, Undetermined Auto-Immune Dysfunction (probable MCTD, sero-negative RA and ?), Trigger finger, Carpal Tunnel, Cubital Tunnel, GERD, High blood pressure, Depression and Anxiety

Oxycontin, Percocet, Lopressor, Lexapro, Omeprazole, Promethazine as needed for nausea, Ventolin inhaler and Vitamin D3

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Date Joined Jul 2009
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   Posted 8/27/2011 11:50 AM (GMT -6)   
I had both the cubital release with ulnar nerve transposition and carpal tunnel surgeries about 4 years ago.

I had only small improvement from the carpal tunnel surgery but did have pretty good results from the cubital/transposition segment of the surgery.

What drove me to surgery was I was losing fine motor control in my left hand, which is also my dominant. I could barely write and sign my name, was unable to fully straighten my ring an pinky fingers (could not get them straighter than about 45 degrees).

After the surgery and with quite a bit of PT I was able to almost fully straighten my fingers and move all of them 90% of normal, but I only regained maybe 20% of what I had lost in regards to fine motor control.

My surgery was done on an outpatient basis. Went in at 7am for prep, was taken back about 10 (my doctor had scheduled 2 surgeries that day and I was #2) and was on my way home by 3 or 4 pm. My surgery took almost twice as long as normal because of complications with my ulnar nerve. It was smashed into the cubital tunnel a lot worse than anyone thought and he had problems getting it out and moved.

For me the worst part was that first night once all of the "really good" pain meds had worn off (the anesthesia and the morphine I got before leaving the hospital). By the that time my arm started hurting an it got worse and worse as the night went on. I was sent home with vicodin and that didn't help. I had morphine tablets I was taking for my back and that didn't do any good either. I managed to last until the next morning and when we called the doctor and told him how much pain I was in he had us meet him at his office first thing. To make the story shorter it turns out the pain was caused by my arm swelling and the bandages and wraps being applied too tightly. As soon as he removed those wrappings my pain went from a 9 to a 1. He rebandaged it himself and after that the only time it really hurt is if I banged it on something.

My best advice is that before going home, assuming you are having it done outpatient, try to determine how tightly your arm is wrapped up. If it feels really tight make them re-wrap it a little looser to allow room for swelling. My swelling was nothing severe or significant. My arm only had a small amount which is perfectly normal but it had been wrapped so tight there was no room at all to allow for it. The bandages need to be snug to help hold everything where it needs to be but not overly tight.
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   Posted 8/27/2011 12:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Shannon, Jim gave you some excellent info especially on the dressing of your hand. That is something really watch out for if your hand starts to swell.

I have both bilateral CT from repetitive use of my hands for years on a typewriter and then the computer. I had an accident and ended up with bilateral ulnar nerve entrapment and had surgery recommended for both problems. I refused surgery because at the time, the surgeries I saw done on our clients were not with good outcomes. These surgeries were done by orthopedics and hand specialists. However, the hand specialists were getting better results than the orthopods. Now, it is too late for me to have anything done because the nerve damage is permanent and they tell me surgery would a wash.

If this were me I would consult with the best hand specialist I could find and this is who would be doing my surgery. Good luck.
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Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 636
   Posted 8/27/2011 9:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Shannon,

I had cubital tunnel surgery a few months ago. I can tell you that after 3 months all of my hand and finger symptoms have resolved, which is wonderfull. I had forearm numbness from the surgery as well, thatbis just about resolved. But my actuall elbow area is now giving me a tough time. We have tried voltaren gel and cortisone injections but nothing has helped the pain yet. Now I can not rest on my elbow at all. That being said, I am still early out and things do seems to be getting a little bit better every month. Just ask lots of questions and make sure its what you want to do.

Good luck,
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Retired Mom
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   Posted 8/27/2011 9:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Shannon,

I had bi-lateral Carpel Tunnel Surgery a while back. I developed trigger finger from it, however, I can honestly say that I am very happy I had it done. The pain in my hands was so bad before (as was the daily swelling) that I couldn't stand it. I still have numbness at niight on occasion and I still drop things, but that is primarily because I waited so long to have the surgery done that I have permanent nerve damage. I don't know what caused the trigger finger to develop, but it only lasts for a little while in the mornings and rarely concerns me in the afternoonsl

I highly recommend what Jim suggested about the dressings being too tight. I had the same problem when the total nerve block wore of.....I was in agony! I called and called (because the surgery was done over an hour away) and FINALLY they suggested loosening the dressings. The relief was almost from a 10 to a 2. Of course, I recommend you doing one at a time or at the very least having someone you REALLY trust there 24-7 because you cannot take care of even the basic bodily functions when both hands are bandaged and exceptionally sore. I think mine were more sore than mosts because my my surgeon did a really tight band to keep it a "bloodless" surgery and then he had a really hard time getting the release due to the size of my bones in my hands/wrists and how little room there was in there.

Anyway, I hope things go well for you in this surgery!!!!!!
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   Posted 8/29/2011 12:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey everyone, thank you so much for your replies. Jim, Shell and RetiredMom I am really thankful to hear of your experiences with surgery. I had never even heard of cubital tunnel until they told me I have it!

Stray, as usual you gave me great suggestions! The one good thing is the ortho doc here is amazing! I am not sure if we even have a hand specialist nearby. I live in small town Nebraska. I will check into it though.

I have alot to think about and soon, considering my surgery is scheduled for the 7th. The pain is bad enough to want to get this over and done with. Once again, thank you and take care!
Gentle Hugs,

Fibromyalgia, Chronic daily headaches, Migraines, Undetermined Auto-Immune Dysfunction (probable MCTD, sero-negative RA and ?), Trigger finger, Carpal Tunnel, Cubital Tunnel, GERD, High blood pressure, Depression and Anxiety

Oxycontin, Percocet, Lopressor, Lexapro, Omeprazole, Promethazine as needed for nausea, Ventolin inhaler and Vitamin D3

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   Posted 8/29/2011 3:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Shannon, I wish you the best with whatever direction you take. I was not trying to persuade you not to have surgery, these were my experiences only. After being the legal field and seeing the differences in drs I learned quickly to always go with a specialty dr if all possible. Thats not to say that your ortho is not a good dr either.

After going thru a couple of knee surgeries by an orthopedic that could not find or fix the problem, he referred me to a dr that did knees only. My third surgery was by him and he found the problem & fixed. I still loved my orthopedic, he was the sweetest man walking I think. I had a lot of respect for him for sending to the knee dr.

I also think they have come a long way in the surgery area of CT syndrome and ulnar nerve transposition. Back when my problems came up they were relatively new procedures, especially CT.
and not many drs had done alot of ulnar nerve things.

Take care.
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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2014
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 11/11/2014 7:06 AM (GMT -6)   
hi Guys,

I need you advises on the to go/no go for the surgery for cubital tunnel .My doctor says I will need ulner nerve transposition to front of the elbow.

I am a software engineer and have been facing mild pain in both elbows( right hand is more severe) from last 3 months along with some abnormal sensation/pressure on the little fingures of both hands.Also a mild pain/abnormal feeling on the palm side of little fingure.
One morning I woke up with burning pain on ulner side of both the hands and tht time I reliased I was having a habbit of sleeping my eblows bent on my chest and thts the reason I was getting numbness sometimes in the ring and pinky fingure.

I have tried the conservative treatment from last 3 months with nerve gliding exercies, making sure not to bent my elbows in night by wraping the towels around elbows.
I feel the ache and pain in elbows very irritating and also the abnormal sensation in pinky fingures.I had done NCV/EMG twise , first one at start of the systems came negative but the one recently done shows some slowing of velocity around both elbows though its not very less 46 m/s.Ultrasound shows some swelling/edema and thickness of ulner nerve around both elbows.
My doctor says I need to go for surgery as things are not improved after conservative treatment and I should got for right hand first as I am right handed before getting things worst.
Please note I don't have any numbness and severe pain though whatever I have is irritatiing specially when I work in office in front of computer for 9 hours a day.
I am really afraid of the surgery after reading such a horrible stories around the internet after surgery.
I have already postponed my surgery once. I am really worried anout my hand post surgery as I am the only earner in my family and you know the private job sucks.

COould you please advise me based on your experiences?
My doctor has shown me many videos of surgery he ahs done and he claimed all were success.


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Date Joined Apr 2014
Total Posts : 985
   Posted 11/15/2014 4:11 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome ram0402.

This is an older discussion so would you please Post New Topic (near upper left) and ask your questions there. You could just copy and paste what you have written here. It's often slow here on the weekends but keep checking in and you will get some replies to help you make your surgery decision. After your intro you can also Search for current discussions on this topic. I think there are some here.

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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16563
   Posted 11/15/2014 4:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks a bunch Abilene for posting to Ram. I will go ahead & lock this thread, hopefully Ram will make an intro post.
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