Subcutaneous anterior transposition versus decompression and medial epicondylectomy for the treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome.

Abstract

A review of the literature often fails to uncover the best procedure for the treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome. This article compares 2 frequently used methods (subcutaneous anterior transposition vs decompression and medial epicondylectomy) for their effectiveness in relieving both subjective and objective symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome. Between August 1991 and October 1993, nineteen patients underwent surgical decompression by a single surgeon for ulnar neuropathy at the elbow. Factors evaluated included upper extremity range of motion, elbow valgus stress, grip strength, pinch, 2-point discrimination, and pre- and postoperative nerve conduction. A standardized questionnaire was administered to assess subjective relief of symptoms.In the transposition group, grip strength averaged 71.2% of normal and pinch strength 86.6% of normal, and 2-point discrimination averaged 8.0 mm. The derived subjective assessment score was 23.2 of a possible 40. The average ulnar motor conduction velocity across the elbow was 50.1 m/sec preoperatively and 56.3 m/sec postoperatively. In the medial epicondylectomy group, grip strength averaged 79.5% of normal and pinch strength 81.7% of normal, and 2-point discrimination averaged 8.0 mm. The average ulnar motor conduction velocity across the elbow was 45.7 m/sec preoperatively and 55.7 m/sec postoperatively. No statistically significant difference existed between the 2 groups for the aforementioned indexes. These results do not indicate a difference between the outcomes of the patients undergoing either of the procedures. Because epicondylectomy is less technically demanding, with less soft tissue dissection of the nerve, it may be preferred over ulnar transposition.

DOI: 10.3928/01477447-20110922-18

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@article{Capo2011SubcutaneousAT, title={Subcutaneous anterior transposition versus decompression and medial epicondylectomy for the treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome.}, author={John T. Capo and Glen Jacob and Robert J. Maurer and Ali Nourbakhsh and J. Samuel Preston}, journal={Orthopedics}, year={2011}, volume={34 11}, pages={e713-7} }