Ulnar Nerve Release Surgery

Ulnar nerve release surgery is a procedure for cubital tunnel syndrome, a condition in which nearby tissue puts pressure on the nerve inside the inner part of your elbow. Ulnar nerve entrapment can also happen less frequently near your wrist.

One of the major nerves of the arm, the ulnar nerve runs from the neck and shoulder area down to the wrist and fingers. The narrowness  and minimal soft tissue of the cubital tunnel make the ulnar nerve especially vulnerable to irritation. The nerve also stimulates your hand’s flexor muscles, allowing it to bend and move.

Symptoms of ulnar nerve entrapment

  • intermittent numbness and tingling “falling asleep” in the ring and pinky fingers
  • a weak grip
  • difficulty controlling fingers for precise tasks, such as typing or playing an instrument
  • cold sensitivity
  • pain or tenderness in the inner elbow joint
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, we may recommend conservative treatment first, including or a combination of anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling, elbow braces or splints, and/or physical therapy to help the nerve slide through the arm correctly.

Surgical approaches will only be used as the first line of treatment if the ulnar nerve entrapment is severe enough to cause muscle weakness and wasting.