Current diagnostics and treatment of the cubital tunnel syndrome in Austria
Cubital tunnel syndrome is the second most common entrapment neuropathy in the upper limb; however, surgical treatment of the ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow remains controversial. None of the presently advocated procedures (simple decompression of the ulnar nerve, medial epicondylectomy, subcutaneous, submuscular or intramuscular anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve) has proven optimal regarding long-term results. This paper presents the experience of treating cubital tunnel syndrome with simple decompression in 40 patients. Three months after surgery 23/36 patients did not feel any pain in their operated hands. In 11/36 cases we observed an improvement of preoperative pain. Sensory disturbances disappeared completely in 24/40 cases. 11/40 patients reported an improvement of preoperative dysesthesia or hypesthesia. In 12/22 patients we observed complete recovery of preoperative pareses of adductor muscle of thumb or hypothenar muscles weakness. 7/22 cases demonstrated an improvement of these pareses. In total 28 patients (70 %) had an excellent outcome without residual symptoms. For 5 patients treatment results were classified as good with slight residual pain and sensory disturbance (12.5 %). In 4 cases (10 %) we only observed a fair outcome with persistent severe sensory and motor deficits but slow improvement over the last three months. Three patients did not demonstrate any improvement (7.5 %). The mean duration of postoperative disablement in our working patients (18/40) was 28 days. In summary, simple decompression of the ulnar nerve seems to be an adequate and successful minimally invasive technique for the treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome.