The purpose of this retrospective study of 60 elbows in 54 patients was to document the complications from medial epicondylectomy for treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome. Specifically, the authors were concerned about the incidence of local tenderness, nerve subluxation over the remainder of the epicondyle, flexor pronator weakness, flexion contracture, and valgus instability. The authors graded their patients pre-operatively using the modified McGowan score, and then re-evaluated them at a mean follow-up of 38 months.
This article represents one of the best in the literature regarding complications associated with treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome by a single surgical method. A very critical analysis was performed, both in terms of neurologic recovery and complications. 88.3% of patients had improvement of at least one McGowan grade post-operatively. Patients who had medial elbow pain prior to the surgical procedure were more likely to have a poor outcome than those patients without medial elbow pain. Ten of 60 patients felt some restrictions post-operatively. Twenty-five of 60 elbows had incomplete recovery of sensory symptoms, and 29 of 60 elbows had the perception of motor weakness. The authors’ conclusion that medial epicondylectomy remains a reliable procedure may not be valid due to the documented number of complications. This paper does, however, represent a well performed analysis of results following treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome and future studies should make use of their protocols.