Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
Cubital tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, but it involves nerve compression in the elbow, causing numbness and tingling in the ring and small fingers. Dr. Christopher Bates says treatment can be as simple as wearing a brace or injecting medication. Surgery can be performed in more pronounced cases.View transcript
[00:00:07.480] Cubital tunnel syndrome is just like carpal tunnel syndrome, [00:00:11.040] which everybody's heard of, [00:00:12.800] but it's just a different nerve in a different place. [00:00:16.080] Carpal tunnel syndrome is compression of the nerve [00:00:18.880] right here in the carpal tunnel. [00:00:21.160] Cubital tunnel syndrome is up here in the elbow. [00:00:24.840] Now, cubital tunnel syndrome causes numbness and tingling [00:00:28.000] in the ring finger and the small finger. [00:00:31.160] Sometimes that numbness, tingling, and pain [00:00:33.720] radiates up the arm, up to the elbow, or down. [00:00:38.200] Cubital tunnel syndrome causes pinching of that nerve at the elbow, [00:00:41.960] which can cause numbness, tingling, pain. [00:00:44.760] Cubital tunnel syndrome can actually cause weakness in the hand. [00:00:48.560] And if patients start to notice weakness, we get a little concerned [00:00:51.680] because that can actually be permanent. [00:00:54.400] When a patient comes in with numbness and tingling in the hand, [00:00:57.560] I'm always evaluating them for several different nerve compression syndromes. [00:01:02.440] That involves some very specific questions [00:01:04.720] and some very specific physical exam maneuvers. [00:01:08.920] Once I have got that information from the patient [00:01:11.560] and examined them in person, [00:01:13.840] I can usually tell them what symptoms they have, [00:01:16.960] what the problem is, and where it is. [00:01:19.880] Once we talk about that, we talk about how bad it is [00:01:22.680] and what the best treatment plan would be for them. [00:01:25.600] Sometimes it's as simple as something like wearing a brace, [00:01:29.040] or giving an injection of steroids. [00:01:31.320] Other times, the patient would benefit from surgery, [00:01:33.720] and we have that discussion there. [00:01:36.200] Treatment for cubital tunnel syndrome can be from anything as simple as [00:01:39.960] wearing a brace at night to help keep the elbow straight, [00:01:44.240] changing positioning at work. [00:01:46.320] That's where getting to know the patient really helps me [00:01:49.000] because I find out what their work environment is like, [00:01:52.400] what kind of things they do, and how we can modify those activities [00:01:55.560] to help decrease the tension and pressure on the nerve. [00:01:59.760] If the patient qualifies for surgery, [00:02:02.160] I talk them through that whole process, [00:02:04.560] what it involves, what the success rates are, [00:02:07.800] what the complications potentially are. [00:02:10.600] I am a very data-driven surgeon, [00:02:12.960] so I talk to patients about the big studies that have been done [00:02:16.400] with thousands of patients, and what the anticipated success rate is, [00:02:21.200] what success means, [00:02:22.800] and what those potential complications are, [00:02:25.320] as well as talk about how long it usually takes for that nerve to heal itself. [00:02:30.800] My job as a surgeon for cubital tunnel syndrome [00:02:33.680] is to take the pressure off the nerve. [00:02:36.800] That allows the nerve to start to heal itself, [00:02:40.600] and give that sensation and that strength back.