COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Cubital tunnel syndrome: comparative results of a multicenter study of 4 surgical techniques with a mean follow-up of 92 months

G Bacle, E Marteau, M Freslon, P Desmoineaux, Y Saint-Cast, R Lancigu, Y Kerjean, E Vernet, J Fournier, P Corcia, D Le Nen, F Rabarin, J Laulan
Orthopaedics & Traumatology, Surgery & Research: OTSR 2014, 100 (4 Suppl): S205-8
24721248

BACKGROUND: Cubital tunnel syndrome is the second most frequent entrapment syndrome. Physiopathology is mixed, and treatment options are multiple, none having yet proved superior efficacy.

OBJECTIVES: The present retrospective multicenter study compared results and rates of complications and recurrence between the 4 main cubital tunnel syndrome treatments, to identify trends and optimize outcome.

MATERIALAND METHODS: Patients presenting with primary clinical cubital tunnel syndrome diagnosed on electroneuromyography were included and operated on using 1 of the following 4 techniques: open or endoscopic in situ decompression, or subcutaneous or submuscular anterior transposition. Four specialized upper-limb surgery centers participated, each systematically performing 1 of the above procedures. Subjective and objective results and rates of complications and recurrence were compared at end of follow-up.

RESULTS: Five hundred and two patients were included and 375 followed up for a mean 92 months (range, 9-144 months); 103 were lost to follow-up and 24 died. Whichever the procedure, more than 90% of patients were cured or showed improvement. There was a single case of scar pain at end of follow-up, managed by endoscopic decompression; there were no other long-term complications. None of the 4 techniques aggravated symptoms. There were 6 recurrences by end of follow-up: 1 associated with open in situ decompression and 5 with submuscular transposition.

CONCLUSION: Surgery was effective in treating cubital tunnel syndrome. Submuscular anterior transposition was associated with recurrence. In contrast to literature reports, subcutaneous anterior transposition, which is a reliable and valid technique, was not associated with a higher complication rate than in situ decompression.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV. Multicenter retrospective.

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