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Ulnar Nerve Entrapment

Diagnosis & Treatment in Dallas

Many important motor and sensory functions of the hand are controlled by the ulnar nerve, which is located next to your elbow. Ulnar entrapment is a condition where the bone and tissue around the nerve close in and exert pressure on the ulnar nerve. This can cause irritation and pain the arm and hand and in severe cases, weakness and numbness.

While ulnar nerve entrapment is not usually serious, it can cause permanent damage if not treated in a timely manner. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should have your doctor check for ulnar entrapment:

  • Weakened grip
  • Numbness and tingling in the ring and pinkie fingers
  • Difficulty with fine motor control or performing precise tasks with your hands
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Pain or tenderness in the elbow

Treatment & Surgical Options

Mild cases of ulnar entrapment can usually be treated with anti-inflammatory medications and ergonomic braces and splints. Physical therapy can also be beneficial for many patients. If these treatments fail and the pain is still a regular problem then it is time to consider surgery.

The goal of surgery is to remove pressure from the nerve. Most of these procedures are minimally invasive and can be done on an outpatient basis.

The following are the three surgeries usually used to treat ulnar nerve entrapment:

  • Cubital Tunnel Release – Similar to carpal tunnel release, this procedure enlarges the space around the ulnar nerve by removing a portion of ligament and tissue in the arm. The removed ligament should grow back in time, but without exerting pressure on the ulnar nerve again.
  • Medical Epicondylectomy – In this procedure, a piece of bone is removed from the elbow. This prevents the nerve from rubbing against the protruding bone.
  • Ulnar Nerve Anterior Transposition – The ulnar nerve is moved to a new position in the elbow to prevent it from moving back and forth and stretching when the elbow moves.

Methodist Moody Brain and Spine Institute has a team of surgeons experienced in performing various ulnar entrapment surgeries using state-of-the-art technology. Call (214) 948-2076 for more information.