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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Ulnar Nerve Transposition Surgery - Recovery

 OzSleeperCell - Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:27 pm

Hi. I had ulnar nerve transposition surgery on my left elbow 18 days ago. I am unable to straighten my arm fully yet (my arm was bandaged and in a sling immediately following surgery) - the most i can straighten it is to an angle of 20 degrees. When I have my arm resting on a desk when it is bent at 20 degrees and I lean back, I feel the nerve being pulled, in my shoulder, forearm and wrist, and afterwards I feel faint and nausiated. Is this usual when recovering from this surgery, and can I expect to eventually fully straighten my arm again, or is this inability to straight my arm a permanent condition? I do still have some bruising on the bicep as well as some swelling around the scar, so I was thinking it was possible that this swelling would be pressing against the nerve which is causing the sensation.

 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:40 pm

User avatar Hello -

Due to the long-term immobilization of the arm after surgery, the difficulty you describe may well be due to muscle atrophy and shortening rather than the nerve itself (this is oftend described as a sensation of the nerve being pulled, which actually isn't what happens). While scar tissue could possibly cause a similar problem, it seems more likely this is the natural course of recovery after having the arm immobilized, and physical therapy (PT) may well be your best bet for getting the full range of motion (ROM) back as soon as possible, as it is difficult to guage what is too much and what is not enough. A physical therapist is familiar with the anatomy and physiology of both the normal and repaired musculature (as well as nerve location) and would likely be able to help you achieve full ROM far more quickly than either trying to work it out yourself or waiting for it to improve on its own. The PT could also uncover any possible, if unlikely, complications due to internal scarring.

Hope this helps. Good luck with this and follow up with us as necessary.

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