Acta neurochirurgica 2017 01 21() doi 10.1007/s00701-017-3086-3
Cubital tunnel syndrome (CuTS) is a frequent neuropathy, leading to sensor-motoric dysfunction. Many patients even present with muscular atrophy as a sign for severe and long-lasting nerve impairment, usually suggesting unfavourable outcome. We analysed if those patients benefit from surgical treatment on a long-term basis.
Between January 2010 and March 2015, 42 consecutive cases of CuTS with atrophy of the intrinsic hand muscles were surgically treated in our department. Clinical data of the treatment course and postoperative results were collected. Follow-up was prospectively assessed according to McGowen grading and Bishop outcome score. Mean follow-up time was 39.8 (±17.0) months.
All patients were treated with in situ decompression; in 33%, submuscular transposition was performed. Forty-five percent showed improvement of sensory deficits and 57% showed improvement of motor deficits 6 months after the operation. Atrophy improved in 76%. At the time of follow-up, 79% were satisfied with the postoperative result and 77% of patients reached good or excellent outcome according to modified Bishop rating scale. Patients with improvement of atrophy had significantly shorter symptom duration period (7 ± 10 months vs 26 ± 33 months; p < 0.05). In the case of intraoperative pseudoneuroma observation, atrophy improvement was less likely (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS
In severe cases of CuTS with atrophy of the intrinsic hand muscles, surgical treatment enables improvement of sensory function, motor function and atrophy even in cases with muscular atrophy. Atrophy improvement was more likely in cases of short symptom duration and less likely in cases with pseudoneuroma.