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Severe ulnar nerve entrapment at the elbow: functional outcome after minimally invasive in situ decompression.

The role of in situ decompression in patients with severe ulnar nerve compression is still controversial. Thirty patients with severe ulnar nerve compression confirmed clinically and electrophysiologically underwent simple decompression. The mean age of the patients was 58 (range 26-87) years. Through incisions ≤4 cm the nerves were fully visualized and decompressed. Outcome was measured prospectively using Modified Bishop's score (BS), grip and pinch strengths and two-point discrimination (2PD). Significant improvement in power (p = 0.01) and pinch grip (p = 0.001) was noted at 1 year. The grip strength continued to improve up to 1 year. According to the BS, 24 patients (80%) had good to excellent results at 1 year. Minimally invasive in situ decompression is technically simple, safe and gives good results in patients with severe nerve compression. The BS and 2PD were more reliable than grip strength in assessing these patients at follow-up.

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