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Could rotator cuff surgery cause an ulnar nerve issue?
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Could rotator cuff surgery cause an ulnar nerve issue?

I tore my rotator cuff in July of 2006 and had surgery about four months later. The accident happened at my place of work. From the time of the injury and even after the surgery, my little finger and half the third finger tingled, on and off, but not real bad. About a month after the surgery, during therapy, the tingling got worst and never went away. The doctor that did the surgery ordered a nerve test, the shocks and needles. The neurologist report said I had an entrapment in my elbow and recommended consulting with a neurosurgeon. I did and he recommended elbow surgery before more time passed, in order to prevent permanent damage. After performing the surgery, the surgeon claimed he found nothing wrong with the ulnar nerve and the elbow channel, yet the fingers still tingle. The company I work for sent me to a medical consultant that told me there is no way the rotator cuff injury/surgery could have entrapped the ulnar nerve in the shoulder. He said the problem is just from old age. I am 56. I have read many articles on the internet and they tell me a different story. What are the facts and chances of the ulnar nerve being damaged from the shoulder injury?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,
      Thanks for writing in. No, there is no chance of entrapment of ulnar nerve after surgery for rotator cuff injury. The common complications after this procedure are axillary nerve injury, infection, deltoid detachment, stiffness and re-tear. Following rotator cuff surgery, therapy progresses in  stages. Initially, the repair needs to be protected until adequate healing of the tendon to bone occurs.

For this reason, most patients use a sling for the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery and are instructed to limit active use of the arm during this period. Most patients have a functional range of motion and adequate strength by 4 to 6 months after surgery.
Hope this information helps.
Best.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for the reply. What is axillary nerve injury and could that cause the finger tingle? I did use a sling for the first 4 to 5 weeks after the surgery. The therapy did not begin until after that time and I still used  the sling for several weeks into the therapy. I also re injured the shoulder about a year after the surgery, and this did somewhat increase the finger tingling. I'm not trying to blame the surgeon that performed the shoulder surgery for the ulnar nerve issue. I just want to get more opinions as to the ulnar nerve/finger issue. Thanks again.  
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Avatar_m_tn
i have had 2 surgries as well on my right shoulder an after the second one i am as well having the same issuses an my therapiest said that it can be caused from it..i loose feeling in my right pinkie,an ring finger an i drop stuff all the time..i understand ur agervastion..if my arm is hanging it hurts an goes numb...hope this helps don't stop looking for answers,they r out there.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had a neurologist perform his test and he thought my problem was in the elbow area, nerve entrampment. I got with a neurosurgeon and he said he could do surgery to check/repair the nerve, but he didn't think there was a problem in the elbow. I decided to get the surgery and the neurosurgeon found nothing, and I still have the ulnar nerve issue. After rotator cuff surgery, a pain pump was instlled in my shoulder. This directly injected a pain medication to the shoulder. I have read stories on the internet where these pain pumps have been related to nerve/tissue damage. I didn't investigate any further. I can live with the nerve damage, but it would be nice if it went back to normal.
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