The ulnar nerve is one of the 3 main nerves in the arm that travels down from the neck through a bony protuberance inside the elbow (medial epicondyle), under the muscles of the forearm and down the hand on the side of the palm, towards the little finger. The ulnar nerve helps in controlling most of the hand muscles which carry out fine movements as well as some bigger forearm muscles which help in making a strong grip.
The ulnar nerve can be constricted at many places, which results in nerve entrapment. The compression pressure on the nerve can cause pain and numbness in various parts of the arm. Compression of the nerve occurs most commonly against the medial epicondyle and is called cubital tunnel syndrome.
If your nerve compression is mild, your surgeon may recommend a medial epicondylectomy. In this procedure, an incision is made over the medial epicondyle, the bony bump on the inside of the elbow. The cubital tunnel is cut open through the soft tissue roof, exposing the ulnar nerve. The forearm muscles or flexor muscles are cut and detached from the epicondyle. Using special instruments, your surgeon will shave away the bump, freeing the ulnar nerve to glide smoothly within the cubital tunnel without pressure from the bump. The flexor muscles are then reattached to the area of shaved bone with special sutures. The incision is then closed with sutures and covered with a dressing.