David Kawamura, MD, a hand surgeon with The Everett Clinic talks about nerve compression.

By: The Everett Clinic

There are a couple of different nerve compressions in the upper extremity. The most common one, the most widely known one is carpal tunnel syndrome, but there's a second nerve in the arm that can be compressed at the elbow that's called the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve generally can get compressed behind a little bony prominence at the elbow. It can cause symptoms in the hand frequently numbness and tingling in particular involving the pinky finger. Numbness and tingling involving the remainder the hand, like the thumb and the index finger, that's more typical carpal tunnel syndrome. But if you have numbness and tingling on the pinky side of the hand that's more typical of cubital tunnel or ulnar nerve compression at the elbow.

That's a treatable condition, often treated with surgery, if conservative, non-operative, treatments don't work. Patients, prior to surgery, will have significant numbness and tingling. It's bothersome. If it's significant they can also have potentially permanent loss of sensation.

So trying to avoid long-term problems like that would be a benefit of the surgery. In general results are very good. Most patients are very pleased. Depending on how long standing their symptoms are they may not get a 100% relief, but most patients are happy that they had the surgery.

David Kawamura, MD, a hand surgeon with The Everett Clinic talks about nerve compression.

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