Management of subluxating ulnar nerve at the elbow.
Musculotendinous variations around the medial epicondyle can contribute to subluxation of the ulnar nerve at the elbow. This article reviews the presenting symptoms, operative findings, and results of surgery for subluxation of the ulnar nerve at the elbow. A retrospective evaluation was performed of 200 elbows managed operatively for medial elbow pathology over a 17-year period between 1990 and 2007. The patient charts were reviewed for chief complaint, radiographic studies, operative reports, and postoperative examination data. Seventeen patients (18 elbows) were treated for a subluxating ulnar nerve. Three patients were women and 14 were men, with a mean age of 27.6 years. Medial elbow pain was the chief complaint in all 17 patients. Seventeen elbows also demonstrated paresthesias in an ulnar nerve distribution. All patients were treated with anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve, and 11 patients (61%) were found to have a muscular anomaly. At a mean follow-up of 17 months, the mean visual analog scale for pain improved from 6.0 to 2.0. There was no functional impairment reported for any patient at final follow-up. Of the 200 elbows surgically treated for medial elbow pathology, 17 patients (8.5%) demonstrated a subluxating ulnar nerve. These patients tend to be young and present with a primary complaint of medial elbow pain. In addition, a subluxating ulnar nerve is often associated with muscular anomalies, which must be addressed concurrently.
Richard, MJ; Messmer, C; Wray, WH; Garrigues, GE; Goldner, RD; Ruch, DS
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