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Old 06-01-2010, 06:03 PM   #1
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Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

On May 26th, 2010 I had Submuscular Transposition surgery to correct Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. For years, well over ten, I noticed that my ulnar nereve was slipping over my elbow bone and giving me the sensation of hitting the "funny bone." At first it only did so once in a great while and was little bothersome to me. I now have a two year old son who weighs about 30lbs, carrying him and taking him in and out of the crib has made it much worse with more frequent occurences, multiple times per day. The only option I was given was to have Submuscular Transposition surgery. I had a splint on after surgery with an ace bandage, then the day after surgery I went to the doctor and they changed all the bandages. The day after that I was told I could take everything off. I was also told that it was not neccesary to wear the sling unless going in public and worried about people bumping into my arm.

Tomorrow will be one week post op and I am very discouraged as to the recovery progress so far. The surgeon made it seem like it was no big deal and with in two weeks I would be able to return to normal activity, I just don't see that holding true. I will be going in on June 7 to have the stitches removed, then I will at some point begin physical therapy.

I am wondering if anyone can tell me if my experiences post op seem typical? I have numbness on the outside of my palm and in my pinky finger. I am very stiff and weak. I also have red bumps, look like acne, near the incision site. I have a lot of tingling in my arm and hand, this seems to be the most bothersome. I am just worried that I am not moving it enough and will harm the recovery process. How soon should one be moving the arm after surgery? Any help in this area would be appreciated.

Last edited by JennHaneman; 06-02-2010 at 04:14 PM.

 
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:31 PM   #2
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Jenn:

Can you tell me about your progress-please. I am scheduled to see a surgeon on the 18th. Thanks.

 
Old 10-01-2010, 03:38 PM   #3
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRGAP View Post
Jenn:

Can you tell me about your progress-please. I am scheduled to see a surgeon on the 18th. Thanks.
DRGAP, in reply to your question from another unrelated post (since my thread on this topic has been closed and locked):

My surgery resulted in my left hand being about 97%. I had Ulnar nerve decompression repair and transposition via submuscular on my left *elbow. I have a slight atrophy at base of my thumb. I have ever so slight pins-and-needles, which I really don't notice at all, but I thought I'd mention it. My last two fingers have near 100% and my thumb strength about 90%. It's a zillion times better than pre-op.

I'm right-handed and I play a lot of golf, and I have a single digit handicap. The left hand and thumb (the one I had surgery on) is the hand in golf that needs to be very strong and is the most important, especially the last two fingers and thumb. I have absolutely no problem. I'm pleased with the results...just should have had it done without waiting. The surgery is a piece of cake - I recall hitting golf balls 14 days or so after surgery.

Good luck to you!

Last edited by Koot; 10-01-2010 at 08:28 PM.

 
Old 10-01-2010, 07:50 PM   #4
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Koot

Thanks for the reply and positive perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koot View Post
DRGAP, in reply to your question from another unrelated post (since my thread on this topic has been closed and locked):

My surgery resulted in my left hand being about 97%. I had Ulnar nerve decompression repair and transposition via submuscular on my left hand. I have a slight atrophy at base of my thumb. I have ever so slight pins-and-needles, which I really don't notice at all, but I thought I'd mention it. My last two fingers have near 100% and my thumb strength about 90%. It's a zillion times better than pre-op.

I'm right-handed and I play a lot of golf, and I have a single digit handicap. The left hand and thumb (the one I had surgery on) is the hand in golf that needs to be very strong and is the most important, especially the last two fingers and thumb. I have absolutely no problem. I'm pleased with the results...just should have had it done without waiting. The surgery is a piece of cake - I recall hitting golf balls 14 days or so after surgery.

Good luck to you!

 
Old 10-01-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRGAP View Post
Koot

Thanks for the reply and positive perspective.
I mistakenly said I had surgery on my left hand. I had the surgery on my left elbow...not hand. (I edited my post above.) Sorry for the mistake.

Best of luck!

 
Old 10-02-2010, 06:56 AM   #6
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRGAP View Post
Jenn:

Can you tell me about your progress-please. I am scheduled to see a surgeon on the 18th. Thanks.
I myself have not been as fortunate. I had surgery over 4 months ago and things were going great for two months post op and then I started having problems, chronic pain, numbness, tingling. I just had an MRI last week and will get the results on Tuesday, Orthopedic Surgeon thinks the ligaments attaching the muscle may be too tight which is causing the symptoms. We are talking about exploratory surgery to find a solution to correct the chrinic pain I am having. I however do not regret having the surgery, my ulnar nerve was slipping off the bone which has been corrected by the surgery.

I don't think the recovery was as easy as the last poster said it was for him. I was out of work for two weeks and even then when I returned I could only do desk work. It is different for each person, hope this is discouraging for you. And I wish you the best of luck.

 
Old 11-17-2010, 06:26 PM   #7
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Update on my post op recovery. It has been almost 6 months since surgery and unfortunately I am having chronic pain and numbness. I have a second surgery scheduled for next month to go in and explore. Doc is talking about putting a wrap around the nerve to protect it further and decrease sensitivity. Has anyone had similar results and had a second surgery If so please share...

 
Old 11-17-2010, 07:31 PM   #8
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Koot HB User
Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by JennHaneman View Post
Update on my post op recovery. It has been almost 6 months since surgery and unfortunately I am having chronic pain and numbness. I have a second surgery scheduled for next month to go in and explore. Doc is talking about putting a wrap around the nerve to protect it further and decrease sensitivity. Has anyone had similar results and had a second surgery If so please share...
Sorry to hear about your continued pain and numbness.

I assume your doc is extremely experienced and has many (MANY) years of doing this type of surgery...as well as REPAIRING DAMAGED NERVES. Doctors and surgeons are no different from other people - just because they are so-called professional does not mean they are necessarily good at what they do.

Good luck!

 
Old 11-18-2010, 03:21 PM   #9
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koot View Post
Sorry to hear about your continued pain and numbness.

I assume your doc is extremely experienced and has many (MANY) years of doing this type of surgery...as well as REPAIRING DAMAGED NERVES. Doctors and surgeons are no different from other people - just because they are so-called professional does not mean they are necessarily good at what they do.

Good luck!
Yes my orthopedic surgeon has done alot of these surgeries and has a very high success rate which is why he was so disheartened by my lack of recovery. He is the best in the orthopedic field in WI, my sister works at the clinic and recommended him.

 
Old 02-20-2011, 03:05 PM   #10
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Koot, I'd like to hear more about your surgery and progess.

I'm 51, and have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome in my left elbow. I've had athritis in both elbows for many years, so I'm sure thats a contributing factor. But a few weeks ago, I felt a painful cyst on on my elbow. It was large and it hurt just to rest my elbow on a desk or table.

I went to the doctor and had an MRI and EKG. The MRI showed the cyst pressing against the ulnar nerve, and the EKG revealed left hand weakness. The pinky and ring fingers of my left hand are fairly numb and weak... I'm having trouble with clipping my nails, etc.

My doctor recommended surgery to take the cyst out and move the ulnar nerve under my forearm muscle. On the day of the surgery I decided to get a second opinion though, especially because I no longer had any pain in the elbow and could no longer feel the cyst at all. I went to another ortho and looked at the MRI and results and said yeah, the other doctor is probably right. But he wants to try 4 weeks of physical/occupational therapy first.

I just finished the first week of PT/OT, which really is only wearing a nighttime spling to prevent me from overbending my elbow, and doing Ulnar Nerve Glide exercises daily.

I still have no elbow pain and cannot feel the cyst at all, but continue to have muscle weakness in my hand and fingers. I can't spread my fingers out all the way like I can on my other hand.

I'd love to know more about your condition prior to surgery, whether surgery helped immediately, or whether it took time, etc. Any insight you can share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Ken

 
Old 02-20-2011, 05:22 PM   #11
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Ken,

Prior to my surgery I had constant pins-and-needles in my ring and little fingers, and the palm of my hand. I could not straighten my fingers...and could not even handle pocket change without dropping coins. I was [past] ready to get help.

The surgery on my elbow was nothing. The doctor repaired the damaged nerve and instead of leaving it in the groove (funny bone) of my elbow, he placed it under muscle on the underneath side of my upper forearm. The incision is about 4" or so and healed very quickly. Surgery took care of pins-and-needles sensation immediately with only a very slight lingering sensation remaining.

About 10 days or so after surgery the stitches came out. I was even given the okay to hit golf balls at the driving range the same day without any problems even though my fingers had lost some strength because I waited too long before having surgery.

PS - My golf game has never been better!

Hope this helps!

Koot

Last edited by Koot; 02-20-2011 at 05:23 PM.

 
Old 02-20-2011, 06:04 PM   #12
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koot View Post
Ken,

Prior to my surgery I had constant pins-and-needles in my ring and little fingers, and the palm of my hand. I could not straighten my fingers...and could not even handle pocket change without dropping coins. I was [past] ready to get help.

The surgery on my elbow was nothing. The doctor repaired the damaged nerve and instead of leaving it in the groove (funny bone) of my elbow, he placed it under muscle on the underneath side of my upper forearm. The incision is about 4" or so and healed very quickly. Surgery took care of pins-and-needles sensation immediately with only a very slight lingering sensation remaining.

About 10 days or so after surgery the stitches came out. I was even given the okay to hit golf balls at the driving range the same day without any problems even though my fingers had lost some strength because I waited too long before having surgery.

PS - My golf game has never been better!

Hope this helps!

Koot

 
Old 02-20-2011, 06:06 PM   #13
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Koot,

How weak was your hand pre-op, and for how long? And how much strength has come back?

Also, did they try any conservative measures first, like OT/PT?

Was your arm in a splint after surgery?

 
Old 02-20-2011, 08:10 PM   #14
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Koot HB User
Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by KennyH123 View Post
Koot,

How weak was your hand pre-op, and for how long? And how much strength has come back?

Also, did they try any conservative measures first, like OT/PT?

Was your arm in a splint after surgery?
Ken,

My hand was in pretty bad shape pre-op. My ring and little fingers were curled-up and I could not keep my fingers straighten. They would cramp-up often. I had practically no dexterity in my two fingers or thumb. The thumb is most important because without the thumb the fingers can't do much of anything. I had lost so much strength in the thumb that I could not apply any grip pressure to pinch. If I pinched a piece of paper between my thumb and forefinger as hard as I could - you could remove the paper from me with ease...and without me even being able to crease or damage the paper. That's how weak my hand was. The muscle at the base on my thumb (actually the web between my thumb and forefinger) had atrophied and was scalloped-out. (When you pinch with the thumb this web muscle raises in a convex shape...mine was concave.)

By the way, my thumb had no pins-and-needle sensation, but half my ring finger and my little finger were constantly maxed-out with the sensation. During the day it was terrible...and worked on my mind just to keep sanity. And sleeping was only in short bursts because it would wake me up every thirty minutes or so even taking sleeping pills. That's how bad it was...

I put-off having myself checked-out in hopes it would heal by itself. That was a mistake because I was told that I had damaged the nerve's sheath at my elbow - in the funny-bone groove. From the time I first noticed any problem, to when I had surgery, was about 3-4 months.

The surgeon knew from my electric shock test that my nerve was damaged and no PT would repair it - only surgery. My elbow area was bandaged and I had a sling when I left after surgery...and I believe I used the sling for only a day or two. I went back in 10-12 days after surgery to have the stitches removed...and within 2 hours I was at the golf club hitting golf balls.

It took me a few weeks to get 50% of my hand strength back...and 6 months or so to get back 95% or so of my original hand strength. Playing golf, and hitting golf balls almost daily, no doubt help speed the strength recovery.

PS - I carefully chose the best doctor with the most experience in cubital surgery and nerve repair I could find.

Last edited by Koot; 02-20-2011 at 08:24 PM.

 
Old 02-21-2011, 04:32 AM   #15
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Re: Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Thanks, Koot, I appreciate the information.

If I have to have the surgery I'll also be in a bandage/splint and sling for 10 days. But this second doctor is not going to put the nerve under the muscle, as the first doctor was going to do. He says there is no evidence or study that shows one way is definitively better than the other, and healing is quicker his way.

Your arm was bandaged at 90 deg., right? How constricting was it? I find myself becoming more claustrophic the past few years and am worried about that. Could you use your bandaged arm at all, i.e. could you reach your face, etc.? Could you shower?

 
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