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Ulnar Nerve Transposition at the Elbow for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

The Ulnar Nerve runs from the side of our neck, down our arm, and to our fingers. The elbow is the most common site for Ulnar Nerve compression. At the elbow joint, the Ulnar Nerve passes through a passageway, formed by muscle, ligament, and bone, called the Cubital Tunnel at the inside part of the elbow. If the Ulnar Nerve is compressed at the Cubital Tunnel, it will send faulty messages as it travels down the forearm into the hand and fingers. The Ulnar Nerve supplies the sense of feeling to the outer half of our ring finger and our little finger. The Ulnar Nerve also sends messages to some of the muscles that move our hands and fingers. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome can result from Ulnar Nerve compression.

Your doctor may recommend surgery for you if you do not receive relief from non-surgical treatments. Surgery can remove pressure from the Ulnar Nerve and prevent further damage. Your surgeon may also recommend surgery if you have muscle wasting.

The surgery may be done as an outpatient procedure or may require an overnight stay at the hospital. You may be sedated for surgery or remain alert with a regional anesthesia that blocks the feeling in your arm.

Surgical Options:

The surgeon has various options for relieving the pressure on the Ulnar Nerve.

  • Simple Decompression- the “roof is removed from the Cubital Tunnel
  • Anterior Transposition of the Ulnar Nerve- surgeon makes an incision at the elbow and moves the Ulnar Nerve from behind the elbow to a new place in front of the elbow.
  • Subcutaneous Transposition of the Ulnar Nerve- the ulnar nerve is relocated under the skin and fat but on top of the muscle.
  • Submuscular Transposition of the Ulnar nerve- The Ulnar Nerve is placed under the muscle

The surgeon considers many factors when selecting which method to use and will discuss the appropriateness of each with you.


If you require surgery for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome it may take several months to recover, but generally you can achieve good results. Individuals with muscle or nerve damage may take a longer time to recover