Dr. Steven Rueda is one of the most sought after doctors for cubital tunnel syndrome in Palm Beach. Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects a nerve in the elbow. This nerve is called the “ulnar nerve”, and is responsible for providing sensation to half of the ring finger and the small finger in the palm of the hand. Its also the most important nerve for hand movement providing function to almost all muscles in the hand. The ulnar nerve is commonly known as the “funny bone” nerve at the inner elbow.
WHAT CAUSES CUBITAL TUNNEL?
The “cubital tunnel” is the location where the nerve is pinched in the elbow. The cubital tunnel consist of a floor, walls, and a roof. The floor and walls are made by the hard bones of the elbow joint. It’s roof is made of several structures including muscle and tight bands of soft tissue called fascia. Inside the space is the ulnar nerve. In people affected by cubital tunnel syndrome, there is swelling inside the tunnel; the walls, floor, and roof are hard structures without room to expand so this swelling leads to compression and pinching of the ulnar nerve. Ultimately symptoms of numbness, tingling, weakness and pain ensue.
CUBITAL TUNNEL PROCEDURE
Dr. Rueda performs two types of cubital tunnel surgery: mini-open, and traditional open. The procedures alleviate the pressure from the nerve by cutting the roof of the tunnel. This release generates more space in the tunnel and allows the nerve pressure to be reduced, therefore relieving symptoms. Dr. Rueda uses the traditional incision when the nerves needs to undergo “transposition”; this is needed if the nerve subluxes out of its location after the initial release.
Made and hidden on the inner elbow
Made and hidden on inner elbow, longer than mini-open
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Patients with classic history, symptoms, and exam who have failed conservative treatment or those who have severe cubital tunnel are good candidates for the procedure.
It is uncommon but its possible. This is known as recurrent cubital tunnel syndrome. These patients typically have improvement after the initial surgery, but symptoms returned months to years afterwards. It is thought to occur from pinching of the nerve at the elbow from scar tissue. Treatment is focused on releasing the nerve from scar and transposing the nerve to a new location where it finds a healthier soft tissue to rest on.
Complications are very rare in cubital tunnel surgery; it is a very safe procedure. Some of the uncommon risks include infection and bleeding. There are also other major complications that are very unlikely including persistent pain, numbness, and nerve injury.