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Anterior subcutaneous transfer of the ulnar nerve in the athlete.

To evaluate the effectiveness of subcutaneous subfascial anterior transfer of the ulnar nerve in the surgical treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome in athletes, we retrospectively reviewed athletes undergoing subcutaneous anterior transfer of the ulnar nerve at the elbow. Criteria for inclusion in the study included active participation in athletic activity, confirmed cubital tunnel syndrome, failure to respond to conservative treatment, and having an anterior subcutaneous subfascial transfer as the only procedure performed. Twenty athletes underwent a total of 21 procedures. Results were evaluated by time to return to sport and a questionnaire developed to evaluate elbow function in the athlete. The athletes returned to full activity at an average of 12.6 weeks. Average subjective postoperative scores were 84. Elbow rating scores averaged 9 (range, 0 to 10). Anterior subcutaneous subfascial transfer of the ulnar nerve is a safe, effective means for treating cubital tunnel syndrome in athletes. The findings in this study are significant in that they confirm the effectiveness of the subcutaneous subfascial transfer procedure in returning the athlete to competition. Of secondary importance is the development of an elbow rating questionnaire appropriate to the athlete.

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