Ulnar Nerve Transposition

What is Cubital Tunnel Syndrome?

Nerve compression problems behind the elbow are called cubital tunnel syndrome. The ulnar nerve passes through the cubital tunnel which is a bony passageway. When you “hit your funny bone” and have tingling in the small and ring fingers, you are hitting the ulnar nerve at the cubital tunnel.

What is an ulnar nerve transposition?

An ulnar nerve transposition is designed to take pressure off the nerve, but also to move the nerve to a position to reduce compression during common daily activities

Length of Stay

This is same day surgery. You will need to have someone drive you home after you have been discharged.


Patients usually have two types of anesthesia for this surgery. The first is general anesthesia, which means you are asleep. The second type of anesthesia is a nerve block. Your arm will be numb and will feel very strange. The nerve block will last about 12-14 hours. The anesthesiologist will speak to you on the day of surgery. The ultimate choice of anesthesia technique is up to you and your anesthesiologist.


You will have an incision on the inside aspect of your elbow. After the incision has healed, it is usually very thin and not very noticeable.


You will have pain medication prescribed for you prior to discharge. After the nerve block wears off you will have discomfort. Use your medicine liberally over the first 48 hours, and then you can begin to taper your use. You may take Extra Strength Tylenol or Ibuprofen in place of the pain pills


Your arm may be placed in a splint prior to leaving the operating room. You are to remain in your splint until your first post operative visit, 10-14 days after surgery. For the time that you are in your splint, you are not permitted to drive. Otherwise you may use your arm within the limits of the dressing.


You will go home with gauze dressings and a splint covered with ace wraps. You are to leave those in place until your first post operative visit (10-14 days after the day of surgery). You may cover the splint and dressings with a plastic trash bag to keep them dry while showering.

Physical Therapy

For the first two weeks of recovery you will remain in your splint and do no physical therapy. Weeks 3-6 you will start a gentle stretching program at home. The second 6 weeks of recovery you will go to formal physical therapy and continue with a home exercise program.


Recovery from an ulnar nerve transposition is three months. During that time you will have restrictions on the use of your operative arm. Dr. Gillespie will discuss your restrictions during your follow up appointments.