Partial Medial Epicondylectomy Safe and Reliable

Nerve problems at the elbow can cause pain and make work and daily activities difficult. In this study removing part of the bone on the inside of the elbow is reviewed as a surgical treatment for the problem. The operation is called a partial medial epicondylectomy.

Researchers tried to answer these questions: does a partial epicondylectomy improve function? Does it help patients with severe symptoms? Can the problems of elbow instability and pain (common after a total epicondylectomy) be avoided by doing a partial procedure instead?

Results of 80 partial epicondylectomies were compared with total epicondylectomies reported in other studies. Measures included pain, grip and pinch strength, elbow motion, and function.

The results showed 86 percent of the patients improved and returned to work five months later. One-third of the patients still had some loss of nerve function. Two-thirds of the patients with severe symptoms gained strength and function in the hand and forearm.

The authors conclude that partial epicondylectomy is a safe and reliable way to treat nerve problems at the elbow. Major problems are avoided although elbow pain persists for many patients.

References: Dimitrios G. Efstathopoulos, MD, DSc, et al. Outcome of Partial Medial Epicondylectomy for Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. March 2006. No. 444. Pp. 134-139.