Ulnar Nerve Release Procedure

Ulnar Release

Skin Graft

Ulnar Nerve Release procedure involves relieving pressure on the ulnar nerve in the elbow by cutting a band of tissue, moving the nerve, or by removing a portion of bone in the elbow to create more space. This helps alleviate pain and other functional symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome.

The Ulnar Nerve Decompression procedure may usually be performed under local anesthesia with or without sedation.  

There are multiple methods of releasing the compression on the nerve.

  • Simple decompression: The fibrous tissues overlying the ulnar nerve may be cut to create more space
  • Simple decompression with epicondylectomy: Apart from the fibrous tissue, a portion of bone may also be removed
  • Subcutaneous transposition: After freeing the nerve from compression, the ulnar nerve is moved into a position under the skin
  • Submuscular transposition: This may be done under general anesthesia and the surgeon moves the ulnar nerve under the muscles near the elbow, by cutting them and re-suturing them after placing the nerve underneath

The skin incision is sutured after completion of the procedure.

Symptoms of Ulnar Nerve Compression

  • Functional loss in the hands or fingers
  • Pain and Numbness down the arm
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • weakened grip
  • Pins and needles sensation
  • In advanced cases, muscle wasting in your hand or forearm or claw-like deformity of ring finger and pinky


Usually, no specific post-operative care is required after the Ulnar Nerve Decompression procedure. At home, the following post-operative care is recommended after an Ulnar Nerve Decompression procedure:

  • Slowly resume regular/daily activities as early as possible, which aids in faster recovery
  • It may be necessary to wear a splint
  • Physical therapy should be done as advised
  • Use a heat pad or warm compress to relieve pain due to the incision
  • Showering may be resumed after surgery, provided the wound is kept bandaged, clean, and dry.
  • Avoid taking baths until the surgical wound is completely healed
  • Avoid lifting of heavy weights
  • Avoid driving for a few days after the procedure

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Picking the Right Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Kim is one of a few board certified hand surgeons in the area. In addition to doing 5 years of general surgery, 2 years of plastic surgery training , 1 year of research in wound healing, he also completed a 1 year hand surgical fellowship at the famous Kutz-Kleinert hand institute in Louisville, KY. Dr. Kim participated in the first US hand transplant in 1999. Dr. Kim has passed the intensive examinations to obtain (CAQH) board certification in hand surgery. He is also a member of the ASSH (American Society of Surgery of the Hand). He performs many of his hand surgeries with WALANT ( wide awake local anesthesia no tourniquet ) which makes the procedure and recovery fast and comfortable. Learn more

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