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If you have ulnar nerve release surgery early enough, the numbness in your hand may get better, and it will prevent further damage to the nerve.
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.
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.
If your symptoms are mild and happen mostly at night, a splint to hold your elbow straight while you are in bed often helps.
For many people it is best to have an operation to release the nerve to prevent permanent nerve damage.
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.
Like all surgical procedures, there are some levels of risks to consider. Some of these can be serious and can even cause death. However, you can speak to your doctor about the following general and specific complications that may worry you.
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. To find out more, call us on 0808 101 0337.
Author: Prof Tim Davis ChM FRCS (Tr. & Orth.)