Ulnar Nerve Release

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What is ulnar nerve compression?

The ulnar nerve goes round the back of the inner side of your elbow (sometimes called your ‘funny bone’). It then goes through a tight tunnel between the forearm muscles. If the tunnel becomes too tight it can cause pressure on the nerve, usually resulting in numbness in your ring and little fingers.

What are the benefits of surgery?

The aim is to prevent further damage to the nerve. If you have the operation early enough, the numbness in your hand may get better.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

If your symptoms are mild and happen mostly at night, a splint to hold your elbow straight while you are in bed often helps.

What does the operation involve?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a cut over the back of the inner side of your elbow. They will cut any tight tissue that is compressing the nerve.

Your surgeon may need to remove a piece of bone, or move the nerve so that it lies in front of your elbow.

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

You may be told to rest your arm in a sling for a few days. It is important to gently exercise your fingers, elbow and shoulder to prevent stiffness.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Your symptoms may continue to improve for up to 18 months.

What complications can happen?

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Unsightly scarring of your skin
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)

Specific complications of this operation

  • Continued numbness in your ring and little fingers
  • Return of numbness caused by scar tissue that forms
  • Numbness in a patch of skin just below the tip of your elbow
  • Tenderness of the scar
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of your arm

Availability

NHS/Private

Pricing*

Consultant
£315
Anaesthetist
£147
Hospital
£859
Guide price
£1,321

*The prices shown are minimum guide prices only. Diagnostic scans and investigations are not included unless otherwise stated. The exact cost of treatment will be made clear to you before you proceed.

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice your healthcare team gives you. This information is published under license from EIDO Healthcare UK and is protected by copyright. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print, download or otherwise reproduce it.

Ulnar nerve compression causes numbness in your ring and little fingers. An ulnar nerve release may improve your symptoms and should prevent permanent nerve damage.

What to do next
  1. Talk to us about ways to pay, either insured or self-pay, and find out if you need a referral from your doctor.
  2. If you need one, ask your doctor for a referral letter.
  3. Call us to book an appointment with a consultant.
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