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Pinched Nerve In Elbow - Treatments Other Than Surgery

  My little finger and half of my ring finger on my left hand are "asleep" all the time. My family doctor had an MRI done on my neck and then I went to an orthopedic surgeon who had the ENG test - where they shock the nerve and measure the response. The orthopedic surgeon diagnosed that I had a pinched nerve in my elbow.
  First course of treatment has been to imobilize the arm at night by putting it in a split. This has not been working and he suggests outpatient surgery where they would move the nerve to the outside of the elbow.
  Two questions - Is this procedure safe? Also, are there any other options beside surgery? Any information would be very appreciated.
  Thank you!
Dear Jim:
Precise diagnosis of the ulnar neuropathy is critically important prior to undergoing any surgery on it. With all due respect, I DO NOT trust a diagnostic EMG examination done by an orthopedic surgeon. Seek a consultation with a neuromuscular specialist in a reputed academic neurology department near you, and undergo another EMG done by such a specialist. Then go to an experienced hand surgeon if the neurologist thinks surgical treatment is appropriate.
Even in the hands of a good hand surgeon, a small but significant minority of ulnar nerve transpositions is complicated by worsened nerve injury, probably from loss of blood supply.
Good luck!

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