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The Doctors Lounge - Orthopedics Answers

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Forum Name: Miscellaneous Orthopedic Topics

Question: Need some advice...Ulnar Nerve issues.


DreamDragoninNY - Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:53 am

Hello All:

Have for some time now had some ulnar nerve issues....had hoped PT might get rid of it, but no such luck. Today, have my EMG, and the news is somewhat alarming. I'd researched the problem, and working on the assumption of compression at the elbow knew my options, though have had a hard time finding hard data on the risks if I go for surgery.

Today, found out I have a double compression....ulnar compression is at elbow, and at the wrist...was told I needed to have surgery.

1. Should I get both compressions done at once?
2. How much does this complicate the surgery, and the recovery process.
3. My life is my hands...what are the negatives of this surgery, the real risks?
4. I have read recovery times from 2 months to a year and a half...can any one give me more concrete answers on this, as my business will be completely shut down during recovery.
5. If the surgery is not successful, what is my worst case scenerio here?

Thanks

Dream Dragon
saif - Fri Feb 18, 2005 6:59 pm

Hi there DD,

I'll try and answer...
Ulnar neuritis sysmptoms are partly due to irritation of the nerve (pins and needles and pain), and partly due to loss of function of the nerve function (numbness, weakness). If the loss of function is established, then this is a result of nerve damage, and recovery is based on how damaged the nerve actually is. Indications of the severity of the damage may be a) whether the numbness is persistent or just transient b) whether there is muscle wasting or not c) whether there is clawing of the fingers or not.

DreamDragoninNY wrote:
1. Should I get both compressions done at once?

Depends on the findings of the conduction tests...if only the elbow is done, then sometimes the clawing gets worse...called the "ulnar paradox"

DreamDragoninNY wrote:
2. How much does this complicate the surgery, and the recovery process.?

The extra procedure, if done, will not greatly complicate the surgery except in that with two operations, you have twice as many sites for wound related problems.

DreamDragoninNY wrote:
3. My life is my hands...what are the negatives of this surgery, the real risks?

Apart from wound related problems, there is I guess nerve damage during the procedure. The most significant complication is that the nerve function may not fully recover...particularly likely as the problem has been around for a few years.

DreamDragoninNY wrote:
4. I have read recovery times from 2 months to a year and a half...can any one give me more concrete answers on this, as my business will be completely shut down during recovery.

Nope, crystal ball not working today ;-)

DreamDragoninNY wrote:
5. If the surgery is not successful, what is my worst case scenerio here?

Worst case is that nerve does not recover, you have clawed, hand with numb little and ring fingers, and reduced ability to do fine movements of the hand. Despite this, ulnar nerve problems may be resonably well tolerated. Best case...you recover full function, in record time, and win the lottery...

Hope this helps

Saif
DreamDragoninNY - Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:22 pm

Hi Salf:

Thanks for the post...do know there is some nerve damage...have had the numb ring and pinky finger here for about three years, but put off dealing with the issues as it was not a good time to deal with it then. Think the wrist compression happened last year when I took a serious fall and my wrist got slapped quite hard on concrete. Not so worried here about a full recovery, just want to make sure I can mitigate some of the pain, and maintain the statusquo...from your note, sounds like that is a reasonable hope on my end.

Again, thanks for the insight into this...............Dream Dragon
Markc - Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:10 pm

My wife now 35 years old suffered Ulnar nerve damage as result of a volleyball match in 1994.

The trauma caused by a direct hit from the ball on the wrist caused a large swelling in the wrist area within a few minutes since this point she has had sensory loss in the smallest two fingers, pain on using the hand even small tasks, writing is also nearly impossible, she complains of numbness and cold in the fingers, the pain on using the hand is quite significant

She has had no surgey but has had nerve conduction tests confirming the damage.

Is there any current surgery that can eleviate her problem to give her back some quality of life, we have not visited the doctor's regaring this problem since 1997

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