What is Ulnar Nerve Transposition

Orthopaedic SurgeonIf you’re planning on visiting the orthopaedic surgeon with elbow trouble, one of the treatments you may hear about is ulnar nerve transposition. For many people, this long string of words is the solution to an uncomfortable problem. Here’s what you’ll want to know about this procedure.

The Issue

For some patients, their elbow pain is caused by a condition called ulnar nerve entrapment. To understand this, let’s first discuss a little anatomy. Your elbow is formed of three bones: the humerus (upper arm bone), radius and ulna (lower arm bones). The ulnar nerve runs down the humerus and forms an L-shape as it rounds the back of the elbow. It continues to the lower arm and outermost fingers by passing through the cubital tunnel. In cases of ulnar nerve entrapment, something causes this nerve bundle to become compressed or pinched.

Causes and Symptoms

Some patients with ulnar nerve entrapment don’t have a direct cause of the problem. However, many visiting an orthopaedic surgeon with this issue have developed the problem by placing too much pressure on the backside of the elbow. This can be caused by pressing the elbow against a surface such as a desk, or sleeping with your elbow bent with weight on it. Symptoms usually include tingling or numbness in your outermost fingers, similar to the feeling of these appendages falling asleep. You may have weakness in the same fingers, preventing you from forming a strong grip.

The Procedure

An ulnar nerve transposition is the solution called on when non-surgical methods are ineffective, or there is a serious loss of muscle as a result of the issue. During the transposition surgery, an incision is made on the inside surface of the elbow. The orthopaedic surgeon reroutes the ulnar nerve from its position on the back of the elbow to the interior side, relieving the compression and pinch point.

It’s important to treat ulnar nerve entrapment early on for the best chances of a full recovery. If you experience any of these symptoms, speak to an orthopaedic surgeon right away.

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