Medical Practice

Cubital Tunnel External Compression Syndrome

Br Med J 1973; 1 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.1.5854.662 (Published 17 March 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;1:662
  1. Thomas G. Wadsworth,
  2. John R. Williams

    Abstract

    External compression of the cubital tunnel comprises the acute and subacute forms of ulnar nerve compression at the elbow. Subacute compression is often seen in hospital practice and sometimes results in partial crippling of the hand. Prognosis for complete recovery is poor. Avoidance of a position of the elbow which predisposes to external compression of the ulnar nerve within the cubital tunnel is advised when a patient is on the operating table, in bed or in an armchair. Prolonged severe elbow flexion in these circumstances should also be avoided. The patient suffering from the syndrome should be instructed to avoid further pressure so that worsening of the palsy is minimized. A compressed nerve is likely to be more sensitive than a normal nerve to ischaemia produced by subsequent pressure. Surgical treatment is sometimes indicated at least to halt progression of the palsy.

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