Ulnar Nerve Transposition Surgery – Update 4

One of the most popular posts on my blog is about the Ulnar Nerve Transposition Surgery I had almost 4 years ago. I thought I would give a quick update on the status. Today, my arm still gets tired really quick and I often have tightness and tingling in my fingers. The most interesting is if I put pressure on my elbow area it gets a warm hot feeling to it. The scar is long and nasty looking and often pinkish. However, on the upside the dull aching pain I had is gone.

The doctor did tell me it would take about 5-6 years for the nerve to repair itself. If I had to do it over again I would do more research.



  1. Kam says

    This just popped up on my reader wall. I am about to have my second Ulnar Nerve Transposition surgery. The first one, in July 2007, worked for about 4 years (from extreme pain to no pain or numbness) then this summer I smacked my elbow and apparently knocked my ulnar nerve loose. I’m back to extreme pain, numbness, loss of strength. I’ve been through all the rigmarole of non surgical treatment to make the decision to re-operate; this time moving the nerve towards the front of my elbow instead of remaining near the back. I too have a 6-7 inch scar, but it’s quite pretty and not nasty at all (my stitches were stunning), and barely noticeable. The new procedure uses about a 1 inch opening. Got to love new technology.

    • Jan says

      I had transposition / decompression surgery done on my left arm and carpal tunnel release surgery done on my left hand at the same time on 3-7-2013. As of today 4-6-2013 the pain is still horrible especially in the morning and evening. The swelling is still so bad that you can’t see my knuckles at all and I have a big knot on my elbow. My doctor keeps telling me everything is ok but he’s also a workman’s comp doctor and doesn’t listen to anything you tell him. He tries to tell you how you feel and doesn’t really care how much pain your in. Never again will I use a workers comp doctor ( there’s a reason they can’t make it on there own ). All I can do now is pray and hope it gets better, but I still don’t know if it was worth all the pain I’m going through. I really think something is messed up but the doctor doesn’t want to admit it and I don’t think (mentally or physically)I could put myself through this again. Very few people have had any type of luck with this surgery at all and are in worse pain now. I wish I wouldn’t have had it done but now it’s too late (big mistake). Think About It!!!!!!!!!

      • charlie says

        I went thru 2 years of bullshitting around with multiple drs pain meds nerve meds etc. Dont take no for an answer. Keep pushing and be in uour drs wheelhouse. Its your body. I f you dont fight you will lose your way of life to pain. Good luck

      • Bob Croon says

        My wife’s first ulnar nerve surgery was in 2010. On Dec. 31st was her 2 nd surgery. She passed away 3 hours into the New Year next to me in bed. Similar is Joan Rivers.Insufficient pre testing, over sedation, done in a clinic. Joans death prompted immediate investigation. My wife, 8 months later and my attys still investigating. Though Joans procedure was different the outcome was the same. Get your arm done at a hospital, demand overnight stay. Know your anesthesiologist, my wife’s notes were scribbled on paper by a Dr. not even present in surgery. This is not typical but if I named the institution all would know it. Please know your Drs. My wife was only 50..

        • Lily Plyler says

          I am supposed to have the surgery at the end of the Month. I am very scared and I will have it done at a hospital. I to am 50 years old and work on a computer all day long. I am to the point that I do not know if I can work anymore. I am very sorry for your loss and hope that your heart heals.
          Lily Plyler

    • Melanee says

      Hey there– about 2 years ago I finally had ulnar nerve surgery. He had to repair the torn ulnar nerve and reposition it. Now? 2 years later? I believe that I have torn the nerve for a 2nd time… Is that even possible? The pain is so unbearable that I can not sleep It hurts to do everyday things. I am losing the feeling again and the pain goes up into my shoulder. When the surgery was first done, I had no pain & it was WONDERFUL. But how could it tear again so quick or so easy? I am reading the comments and it scares the heck out of me. Please any incite would be greatly appreciated.

      • Bruce says

        Hi I also had ulnar nerve surgery 2 times , its been 2 year’s now I am better but I can’t do things I used to and im still out of work . Im now facing the choice from the doctor to put in a stimulation implant device, he says the pain can spread throughout the body im now going to rsd classes for more information on this . I also had the pain go up into my shoulder so im guessing the pain is spreading like the doctor said . Good luck to you !

  2. Rana says

    I was told yesterday that I need to have this done to my arm . I am really scared to have it done i am a massage therapist and I really need to know if my arm is going to be ok if I do this and how long I will be out if I do do it there is nothing like the pain I am feeling in my arm is the pain worse after the surgey your is it 100% pain free after .

    • kim t says

      I had a car accident in March 2003, the airbag jolted my arm into the car window and i was told i needed ulnar nerve transposition surgery. I had the surgery in August 2003 and its now 2012 and I have no relief, never did. I shouldve left it alone. Please dont do it because most people say you have the same if not worse symptoms!! I I am also a massage therapist and am much weaker now in that arm. Also my grandma had it last year and still has pain and had trouble healing!! DO NOT DO IT!! My recommendation (cold laser therapy) ask about it, its non invasive and painless.

      • windy s says

        Ok so i just had this surgery done on March 27… I am still on my pain meds and it still to now hurts pretty bad when touched. I can move my fingers good..but cant grab things.. I cant put my arm straight. I am allowed to try to move it back and fourth and suppost to start theropy on the 24th. I go back sometime the first week in may to see the doctor. However two weeks after surgery I had the splint taken off and very little brusing.. yes there was some and the scar is going to be bad. i also at the same time had to debree(cant spell sorry) the tendon on the other side of the elbow too..so that could be causing some of the pain…. The surgery is hopefully going to be helpfull in the long run

      • wintermyst says

        I had this surgery done on July 12 2012, i’m 6 days post surgery. It was a bit painful when i woke up in the recovery room and the nurses took care of that. I only took my pain pills for the first day and even then not every 4 hours. I haven’t had a pain pill in 3 days. I get the little twangs that says you cannot use me that much yet. but the pain i was in before is diminished, yes my pinky and palm of left hand is still not 100%, I have a gauzy feeling in places (numbness w/o pain).. it takes the nerve 1 day to grow 1 mm in a healthy non smoking 20 yr old. there’s about 400 to 450 mm of ulnar nerve so it is going to take at least a year for the nerve to repair and regrow. I’m also not 20 anymore.. unless you wanna count the 26 years of experience i have past that ;)
        my ulnar nerve transposition was placed to inner part of elbow and fascia was fashioned to create channel for nerve. They didn’t remove my muscles from the bone to re route. It has a success rate almost of the more invasive type.

    • says

      No, I gt surgery8/6/2012 and right now 4/24 2013 I am on here asking why am I still in painand swollen and I think there is still a stitch in my arm after going back to get out stitches they didn’t get before. I would never recommand this surgery.

  3. marcus says

    Hi, I am not able to make an appointment with my surgeon because he is on holiday now and I do not know what to do.

    I had submuscular transposition of the ulnar nerve on 31st march, on Tuesday 27th April I had the cast removed and today I just noticed that the nerve is still coming out of its groove at the elbow when I open and close my arm. I thought that they move the nerve under the muscle but it is popping exactly where it was before I had the surgery. Is this normal for the nerve to still be popping out of its groove in the same place?

    Thanks for your time

    • Jerred says

      YES this is normal. The best thing for you to do is ask the doctor about doing physical therapy. Basically you’re scar tissue is catching the nerve (this is NORMAL). Hopefully if you see a GOOD therapist they will give you exercises, which is called NERVE GLIDES. These will fix it right up!

  4. KChicken says

    It sounds as if, unfortunately!, most of you have NOT had good results with this type of surgery. I had my left arm done in Dec,2009 and had immediate relief of pain, numbness and swelling once the immediate surgery trauma subsided. I don’t know if it’s the surgeon or if it was just me in particular. I have never had issues with the arm, hand numbness or elbow and am very happy with the results. My surgical scar is almost invisible, to the point where I have to look hard for it. I am having the right arm done in a couple weeks using the same surgeon. I did tons of research in the surgical procedure, picked the best surgeon I could afford, diligently did rehab, exercises and was 100% committed to the process.

    • Joy says

      May I ask who your surgeon was? I was told I need this surgery yesterday. So far I’ve just got a numb pinky finger and a little nerve pain down my right arm from the elbow. I am not sure how to find the best surgeon in my area, and the odds of success don’t sound very good for having the surgery. My surgeon didn’t mention any rehab or pt following surgery.

        • Kevin says

          For finding a good doctor, look up to see who the orthopedic surgeons are for your local professional baseball teams (single or double AA, mostly), or if you have a major baseball university around. That’s the guy you want to see, not a general surgeon.

          I had the surgery back in September from an injury I sustained almost 6 years prior, so my nerve had been irritated for a very long time. My scar seems to be half the size of others on this board, after a couple months of rehab three times a week, I was back to almost everything, including regular throwing duties as a high school coach this season.

          I still have some numbness if I sleep on it in the wrong position, and over use brings about cramping in my ring and pinky finger, but overall a drastic improvement.

          But again, I went to see one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Connecticut, Dr. Joyce. Wouldn’t have done it any differently.

          • Joy says

            I’m not sure if I ever thanked you for this response. I have not had the surgery yet, as my symptoms have not increased and I’m putting it off as long as I can! I just have a bit of a numb pinky and ring finger but sometimes it’s not even bad enough to notice. I suppose the surgery is inevitable. I had a neuroma removed from my foot years ago and wish I had gone to a sports surgeon instead of a regular podiatrist. I have scar tissue on the cut nerve and constant pain. I will follow your advice and find a great sports doc, even though a friend of mine had success with the local ortho surgeon for the ulnar operation. Thanks again. Joy

    • mike says

      I just have the surgery the past few days for the second time on my opposite arm I did it for 5 years ago on my left arm and it took a very long time before felt better but let me tell everyone that for those people saying they would never do the surgery again and everything went wrong I suggest you give it a lot of time before you make that bold statement I used to be in a lot of pain in my left hand and I swore I would never do it in my right arm eventually my right arm got worse and I saw how my left hand improved. I can’t recommend the surgery enough I used on my right arm a doctor in Cedar Rapids Iowa named dr. Hlavin this doctor was by far the best I did to you the other on was in the military and it was a horrible experience anyways please excuse my typing I’m actually using my Google tablet and speaking this to you guys I would suggest the surgery years later when I felt the way my right arm started to become I realized I no longer have a choice in the matter the pain was unbearable I am a software engineer by trade and I could not deal with this any longer I’m sure there are a few legitimate cases here where things got a lot worse but you also have to remember that most people are gigantic babies and nothing is ever perfect enough for them they expect that they’re going to get the surgery and everything is magically going to be wonderful instantly after this is not true we all heal at different speeds and even now in my left arm occasionally it feels a little funny it doesn’t hurt but I can still something just isn’t right with it but I will take this awkward feeling of some things moved around weird in my arm over the pain in my hands any day I am able to continue working and that’s great. Again I cannot emphasize enough at how people that are reading this and listening to people say don’t do this its all bad its all terrible I would honestly ignore them my experience personally is most people are big babies wine cry and nothings ever right again I’m sure there’s some legitimate cases were things are wrong I really don’t believe most of these people are saying it made things worse I’m sorry I don’t I say get the surgery of the pain is really bad if it’s manageable and you can deal with it then don’t get the surgery the choice is yours

      • mike says

        I also wanted to add another thing that I think people should consider. When things go right most people don’t go on the internet and write about it and say how wonderful there surgery went and how much better they’re doing. People are more likely to write negative things about a surgery when things go wrong or haven’t turned out the way they wanted so even know someone commented and said it looks like there’s a lot more negative cases on here I say that is because the negative cases were the only people that were mad enough to even take the time to write this that’s another opinion but I find it hard to believe in my own experience so much went wrong for so many people and also my parents are doctors and I would hear the stories they would tell about the patience and I know that in most cases patients are nightmares how to deal with some can be pleasant some really get mistreated and I also know sum r trying to make a quick dOllar if you want to decide if you should get the surgery or not talk to more than one doctor get more than one opinion and decide for yourself that is all I have to say I’m very pleased can’t say it quite yet about my right arm but the pain in my right arm after surgery was way less than after my left arm I would recommend this doctor at the very minimum if anyone is willing to travel to Iowa the other surgery I had was in Texas and I would not recommend that doctor I won’t even give the name

        • Israel Caraballo says

          I had the release and carpal surgeries done 10/16/2013 on my left arm. I immediately felt the difference when I woke up. No tingling, no pin/needles, numbness, sharp pains catching me off guard. Still have my stitches in, very minimal discomfort. My arm is not all bruised up. As of today, 10/21/2013, I would highly recommend these surgeries if you need them. It has made a dramatic difference in how I feel. I feel at peace… No fear of some pain catching me off guard in the next few minutes or waking up with a hand so numb it felt like I had no hand.

  5. Jerred says

    Hmm.. i find it strange none of you have felt relief with the surgery. I play college baseball and i have already had two ulnar nerve surgeries. SO EVERYONE KNOWS, THE ULNAR NERVE IS PUT UNDER THE SUBCUTANEOUS MUSCLE (basically the first layer of muscle). This is what makes it so easy to “pop” back out. To be honest for you all though, the main reason you still have pain is because of scar tissue attaching to the surgical site. There are many types of therapy that can help and i would be happy to share them with you. But to the point, if you want the best of the best to do this surgery.. you should really look in to coming over to Wichita, KS. With Dr. Harry Morris being one of the top surgeons here in town, he is probably one of the best Ulnar Nerve surgeons in the US (besides Dr. Andrews and Dr. Jobe of course). If any body needs the therapy workouts i will be happy to post the website!

    About me: College baseball player, who has had 2 Ulnar Nerve surgeries in the last 2 years. I am now headed down to Florida to see Dr. Andrews because my nerve has to be moved to the deepest part of the muscle (they remove some of you’re forearm muscle and place the nerve there, one of the worst surgeries you can get!). Also i may have torn my UCL or LCL, so we will find that out!

    • Karen says

      Jerred, I had Ulnar Nerve Transposition done about a 3 weeks ago. Have my one month check up next week. Hoping the doctor sends me for P.T. because I am starting to lose some strength in my hand from not using it. Was told not to lift anything for the first week and now can lift 5 lbs. with my hand but it tires easily. Would really like to get your opinion on post surgical therapy and what exercises should be done. My never was moved from it’s normal spot up higher so I could still bend my elbow when sleeping. Any suggestions on sites for therapy would be appreciated. Thanks and good luck on all your surgeries.

    • michele says

      Jerred, do you mean Dr. Andrews in Florida???? Very important question please get back to me if you can

  6. Wendy says

    I found out I will need ulnar nerve surgery in a couple months! (kinda scared) I have been diagnosed with TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) in my right arm, so I am getting botox injections to prevent surgery on that. I have a detached tendon in my wrist as well as a torn ligament along with carpel tunnel & ganglion (don’t think much else could be wrong!). So Dr said he would also “fix” my ulnar while he is taking care of everything else. I have been dealing with pain/numbness/aching/blah….for the last 3 years (work comp) . I’ve done every option there is to prevent surgery, including nerve glides, but that only made things worse (more pain shooting up my arm).

    I am hoping this will be the last step to live a normal life again and be able to use my arm/hand again like a normal person. I’m glad it worked for some, but worried about those that had a bad experience. The Dr has been doing this for 40+ years (hopefully I’ll be one of the good ones). He told me I’d be in a cast for 3 weeks, then work on PT and getting back to work (call center) . Right now I am just looking up as much as I can to get informed – thank you for posting your stories…

    • says

      Wendy I am curious to see how your situation is going. I just had submuscular transposition of the ulnar nerve
      I also have a desk job major typing and mouse work. I also play the drums and have been diagnosed with tos
      over 2 years I have dealt with pain but only 1 yr with elbow but 2 years ago I scrolled on mouse at work and
      felt something pull in right pointer finger and swelled and had pain ever since no luck with work because I have too many other factors so anyway surgery 3 wks ago and 3 wks have to go back to work not sure how typing this is extremely painful also do you have any pain in thumb or pointer finger

      • mike says

        I’m sure this is no longer relevant but I will share my experience with you earlier if you’ve read any of my other replies I have a desk job I had the sub muscular surgery on my left arm like you and on my right arm I did the one where it doesn’t go into the muscle both times I was able to get back to the keyboard pretty quickly with a little bit of pain on my left arm with the sub muscular it took quite a bit longer before I was willing to type on my right arm I’m right handed so using the mouse became the most difficult part but I was able to type the same day parentheses although not recommended close parentheses sorry I’m actually speaking this to you but again I was able to type right away today is the 3rd day and I honestly I felt like I could go back into work the only reason why I haven’t is because my boss demands that I take some time off he’s a pretty nice guy also maybe sitting for 8 hours trying to type might be a different story I only typed maybe a couple lines in there trying to use a left-handed mouse and that’s really the most annoying part of my day the results might not be the same for everyone I definitely don’t think I could do something like s*** again or anything physical so if you have a physical job I would say it takes a few months if you’re just typing I mean if you get the right padding for your elbow may be uncomfortable you can milk it and maybe take as much time off as you want but you don’t really have to. I will also say this my doctor wants me to not work for a couple of weeks as well maybe I’m just a workaholic I really don’t feel like I need a couple of weeks again I might come back and regret this this is just how I feel right now and I am sharing that with you

  7. April says

    I had an ulnar nerve transposition in Jan 2012…all was well until about a month ago when I started having numbness, tingling and cramping. Saw two orthopedic surgeons, one said should have surgery again the other said it takes 18 -24 months for the symptoms to go away. What were others expirences? Debating on another opinion!

    • mike says

      on my left arm it took about two years before all of the pain to go away, yes all of the pain is away on my left arm but I will say that s my left arm has felt kind of funny ever since then like something is getting colder is not in the right place kind of gross feeling but the pain is gone so I would agree with your second doctor about the 18 24 months but that’s just me

  8. ken says

    i had ulnar surgery 24 mos ago. it has never been the same. also had acdf c5-c-6 surgery 5 mos. ago. the pain in my arm is brutal. i have no use of my arm. i would not rec this surgery . was told that i have bad tendonitis and cubital tunnel synd again. try to avoid the is surgery at all costs.

  9. melanee says

    I had torn my ulna nerve. In November 2011 they had to go in and repair the nerve nd reposition it. Today. Dec 2012. I am having the pain in my shoulder again. Nd the numbness nd tingling in my fingers. Also have a lot of pain in my elbow. Could I have torn the ulna nerve a second time??????? Any input would be great. Thanks

  10. Paola says

    I had an ulnar nerve transposition in 2005 and I’ve had no pain in my arm whatsoever. I had a really good doctor and physical therapist. The people suggesting others not have the surgery probably didn’t have very good doctors.

    • Joy says

      Who was your surgeon, if you could please tell me. I am scared to death to have this surgery after reading some of these horror stories! Thanks. Joy

      • Jane says

        I had ulnar nerve transposition surgery and also the procedure to address flexor tendon (golfers elbow) on Jan 4th. I was in terrible pain beforehand and exhausted all non surgical options over a year’s time with my regular ortho doc – who, in hindsight, did not treat me properly. When it got so bad i was unable to bend my right (dominant) arm, surgery was the last resort. I’ve never had any major procedure before and was nervous. So i wanted the best – and I got him! Dr. Robert Hotchkiss is the top elbow specialist at HSS (Hospital for Special Surgery) in NYC, which is the #1 orthopedic hospital in the US. Professional athletes get treated there. In fact, my doc performed the exact same procedure on a NY Giant the same day he operated on me ( he couldn’t tell me who of course). He has done hundreds of these procedures. That’s the caliber of doc you want, especially when there’s a nerve involved. But be prepared to pay for it. Surgeons at HSS don’t take insurance (but the hospital does). I have good insurance, but his fees were 100% out of my pocket. Ouch. But I decided it was worth it to get use of my right arm back.

        Within a week of the bandages coming off, I had about 95% of my range of motion back. Amazing. The pain has not been that bad overall. Only took painkillers a few days (and they just made me sick). I have been wearing a wrist brace for 4 weeks now, with a few more weeks to go. Not allowed to lift anything heavier than a dinner plate. This is all to allow the nerve to get settled in its new home – because bending the wrist fires up the ulnar nerve.

        I still have some tightness, numbness and discomfort/pain around the incision area and was concerned I may not be progressing normally (I’m a quick healer, but then I’ve never had any surgery before), and told my doc about it in my follow up visit last week. He said, “it’s only been a month. Relax!” (I love this guy and his whole team is fabulous, as well as the HSS facility).

        My incision was not as bad as I expected, about 3.5 ins long, and has healed really well. I used Vitamin E oil on it right away and still put some on daily to keep it moist. Heating pad / moist heat really helped to quickly return range of motion, now i am icing to address some lingering internal swelling around incision).

        I did a lot of research and was all over these discussion boards to see how others fared. There were so many negative experiences, that I was scared to death to have the surgery. But i am so glad I did. Not that I had any other option, really. For those of you who would like to listen to those telling you not to do it, be aware that (depending on your individual condition), the consequences of NOT doing the surgery could be worse. Don’t mess with your nerves.

        I know that this will take time to heal but I’m confident of successful long term outcome.

        The bottom line is that, like anything else, results of this kind of surgery will depend on the quality and experience of the surgeon – and everyone heals differently. Good luck!!!

      • steven B says

        hi joy my name is steve, I had the srgery in 2008, it was painless no therpopy, but its back 7 years later, it was perfect for 7 years, I understand the surgery is only a 1 inch scar now, technology so don’t worry its nothing, all I took were advils

        • Joy says

          Steve, thanks for your encouraging words. I’m still procrastinating the surgery, as my symptoms are the same if not somewhat better. No muscle loss yet, and very little finger numbness. When I ride my bike, my hand presses on the handlebar and the whole hand feels numb in a matter of minutes, though. not good. I need higher handlebars anyway and probably a different bike, as this one is too small for me. Thanks againl

    • says

      Reading this site last week had me petrified for my surgery!! I’m so glad I was brave and didn’t get scared off!!! I’m in the UK and my surgeon is known to be one of the best where i am…I was still scared but you have to trust in them and think positive , if u don’t have trust in them then don’t have them operate on you! Yes I’m in a lil pain right now, well, quite a bit actually, I can deal with it….. surgery is not a quick fix, I’m an active 33 yr old girl and realise that certain parts of my life will have to take a back seat for sometime , but I’m determined and wasn’t living my life to the full before surgery anyway!! I tried everything, working partime hrs, no exercise, changing chair, keyboard at wrk, physio, accupunture…. Sick of it.. That pain constantly in my little finger and side of hands…(only having right arm done first) , I had to try surgery! I had the anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve, I do not believe it was the one where muscle was cut as I have fibromyalgia , my nerve has been moved from behind elbow to the front/ side of my arm… I’m cast from wrist to top of arm and I’m typing with that hand now and holding phone in it!! I have morphine for if it gets bad but only use it to sleep. Early days but will post again to advise progress. I never usually post on sites but was so upset last week by forums and how much it scared me with all the horror stories I thought it wud help someone to read something positive, I hope :) Good luck :)) be brave and get a good surgeon

  11. BethAnn says

    Hello my name is BethAnn. I am 35 years old, was a restaurant owner for years and a nurse.
    I started having problems with my hands and elbows in 2010. After a year and a half of options in July of 2012 I had the right side done. Ulnar Nerve Transposition, six days after the surgery my doctor had the stitches removed. I was in excruciating pain and had complete numbness in my three fingers as well as on the outer side of my elbow. My thumb and the incision area hurt beyond belief. I have a great pain tolerance level as I have had 40 surgeries in my lifetime. Two days after the stitches were removed my wound dehisced. They restitched it and from that point on I went from numbness to pain that had me in tears ten hours a day, limited use of the arm, I could not extend or completely open my arm. I did not know what to do.
    My doctor was very rude and has no bedside manner, even when the wound reopened he refused to come to the hospital.
    I went to a specialist, a new emg was done and the results were exactly the same as before the surgery. I was at a loss of words. Not only that but he could feel a large amount of scar tissue.
    Before scheduling surgery he referred me to a neurologist due to my results on my left arm as well as my issues with my legs. I have pins and needles in all my distal parts as well as other issues. After many tests and a spinal tap and brain mri, I was diagnosed two months ago with Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Again I could not speak. I was sent to ms specialist in the city and began treatments for the disease. The neurologist felt that my ulnar nerve issues were from the ms, but that the elbow had to be repaired the scar tissue needed to be removed.
    5 months after my surgery I was in the operating room again. That is 4 days ago. My surgery took over two hours, there was so much scar tissue and problems with the joint and bone that he is not sure what the other doctor did to me. Today I went to have the stitches looked at, the last four days have been unbearable. My arm is now deformed. He had to remove so much tissue and stretch my tendon to create a sheath. My ring finger will stay bent as it is now contracted. My locks up and is killing my, I have a large hole in my arm that is very noticeable, and a scar that now runs from just below my wrist and almost to my arm pit. He is not sure if my pain will ever go away or how to explain what the other doctor did to me. I wish I had done more research as well as looked into the doctor more. He was nationally recognized so I thought he was perfect. I was wrong he has three lawsuits pending already.
    If you must get the surgery please look into all your options as much as possible, also make sure that you have tried all other therapies and solutions before letting them operate. I wish a great recovery to all of you and am glad that I am not alone.

    • Caroline says

      Hi, i had cts surgery and ulnar nerve transposition on dec 26, 2013. I’m still in a lot of pain and before surgery we were thinking I had MS. Sounds like we have something in common. But my brain MRI was negative. Did you have a spinal MRI to show MS?

  12. Rachi says

    I had a submuscular ulnar nerve transposition surgery done on 14th feb 2013 on my left elbow. I had immense pins and needles after surgery and that gradually reduced! I had the stitch removed 12 days after surgery and have a very neat scar. Surgeon was very concerned that my thumb and next 2 fingers had become numb since the op – and with the weakness in my wrist and hand – and was sent for physio to get range of movement back in my elbow and to do nerve glide exercises! As it turns out my physio is pretty sure I have carpal tunnel – I had my surgery done based on symptoms, nerve conduction studies were inconclusive… I still can’t straighten my elbow 1 month after and i don’t have normal feeling around my elbow and it’s painful if I knock it. I still get random moments of nerve issues…. My little finger, and next finger and hand that side feel hot and cold at times and I get random pins and needles.. And times when I can’t move my little finger again… But mostly it has sorted the issue. Just need more physio to get my elbow back to normal. Seeing the surgeon next week and will discuss the carpal tunnel issue with him- as that is clearly a contributing factor to my original complaints!! (weak grip with my hand cant spread my fingers properly- I look forward to hopefully continuing to improve – 1 month and I have positive results – unfortunately anything to do with nerves takes a long while to heal! Just want full movement back in my elbow!!

    • Rachi says

      Would just like to add – I had very little bruising post surgery and I took no painkillers at all!! My first session of physio was the most painful thing to do with this surgery!

  13. charlie says

    this was second surgery. my incision is very large. probably 20 inches or so. my first surgery was a mess and had severe pain for two years. i had gone to four doctors and none of them wanted to touch it. the biggest problem i had was with a guy from hospital special surgery in nyc who was a complete jerk. long story short, whole nerve was compressed from mid forearm to underarm. guy who did my surgery was great. my son had tommy john surgery twice and he did the both. day 9 and pain is sudsiding and i am going to start to cut back on the meds. i have about 35 staples in my arm. this is my 4th surgery and by far the toughest. best advice i can give is if you dont have to go thru the surgery, dont. it is not easy. my son snapped back after his 2nd sugery and did well. hope the same for me. the guy who did my surgery, dr. zornitzer , west orange. great guy, great surgeon. guy in new york, i will leave his name out.

  14. Daniel says

    I’ve had a submuscular transposition surgery on my left arm (and another surgery to clear “a band of muscle” out of the nerve’s way), and one of the absolute most frustrating things about it has been the difficulty in finding anyone who’s also had the same surgery to compare experiences with it and know what exactly I should have expected. I cannot overstate my gratitude for each of your posts… as randomly placed as they are on this techie’s blog.

    I still frequently feel the nerve snapping against something inside my arm with regular motion, especially lifting, and can directly provoke it by turning my palm upwards and bending my arm. It’s basically only halfway tolerable if I don’t engage in any physical exercise (… *sigh*).

    But most recently, two months ago, my right arm started having problems too. It almost feels like the nerve is stuck over my inner elbow… but whatever’s really going on, whenever I’m using a computer or driving, and straighten my arm out from a bent position, I have constant loud snapping in my elbow along with a small jolt. It’s not something I can do on command though, so I found it impossible to prove to my doctor, although when I went to work after I last spoke with him, my arm snapped more than a hundred times throughout the day. My right pinky finger gets numb and weak because of this, and my inner elbow sore. I was given a cortisone shot for this a few days ago, and so far, I can’t say that it’s helped. I really hope that when I go back to the doctor’s that he doesn’t then insist upon EMG, those tests are pure torture for someone as jumpy as I am.

    I’m losing hope that I’ll ever feel normal or comfortable in my own body again. It’s killed my motivation to do anything with my life besides scrape by and survive. The list of things that I would now gladly exchange for normally functioning arms grows by the day.

  15. nivian says

    I just found out just last Thursday that both my ulnar nerves are torn along with carpal tunnel in both my wrists they are talking surgery I am scared because I FINALLY got my life back on track (new car new job new place a whole new life with my man and my children) but I am tired of living with pain every day like I do in my back from a fall 5 years ago I cant do the things I love right now like play with my 5 year old or hold my newborn or cook and bake it hurts to work every day (I am a cashier-something I enjoy doing also) I know I need the surgery to repair my nerves but it’s disheartening that I will loose my mobility for a while loose what I hold most precious and taken for granted of all these years I can only hope that lord and lady speed me on my quest of recovery please pray for me we all need prayers here I think I know I will pray for all of you myself

  16. Desiree says

    There are a ton of horror stories on here. I’m a massage therapist and have had to have both both bi-lateral carpal tunnel and submuscular ulnar nerve transpositions after an incident after working one full day and suddenly coming down with an RSI of my right hand and arm 10 months ago.

    The right arm was done three months ago. I could tell a difference in dexterity literally the night after the surgery while doing my hand exercises in the cast. After three months of very dillegent 3x a week hand therapy, exercises, and work desensitizing my scars on that arm I am doing ok! As far as pain, YOU HAD SURGERY! Of course it’s going to be painful, of course you’re going to be in a process of pain and recovery! You may not even be 100% again.. but I would much rather take the pain of very occasional numbness and tingling with over use and fascial/scar pain over what I was dealing with at the onset of diagnosis and knowing that the nerves in my hands are slowly dying. I’m able to do a lot of things again and it’s going to be a slow process.. It takes the nerves themselves 9-12 months to initially re-innervate.

    The second side I had done three weeks ago and it’s been much more painful and the surgery site as well as the scaring is very painful and sensitive to sensation however, I’m still doing my rehab exercises daily and it keeps getting easier and easier and I’m certain it will make a full recovery as well. Will I be able to work as a massage therapist again? Maybe. Do I expect to be able to do 4-5 massages a day eventaully? Nope. Never going to happen.
    The best case would be to do a few per day working for myself and that’s what I’m aiming for… even then it’s a long road.

    The best thing I can say about this is it is so important to have a positive attitude about it and do all your exercises. Exercise your arm in the cast, exercise it after you’re out, exercise it in some way every freaking hour and you’ll see amazing results because the nerve won’t scar down. I was wallowing in self pity until I got into the OR and told myself my bad attitude had to end there and it did and I did remarkably well..

    • charlie says

      Jeez, just to think if all the people on this website had this advice earlier and knew that a positive attitude was all we need to do to have this go well. My god if I knew that ahead of time I would not be on my third trans surgery . Darn.

  17. Madtrapper says

    Last Dec. I noticed the meat between my thumb and forefinger was going away. I made an appointment and was told I needed to have the shock treatment to see if my nervres were pinched. I was informed I need to have the ulna nervre moved and carpo tunnel surgery, on both arms. after reading all this, not in a big huurry to do it, but was told if I don”t get it done quickly, might not be able to resurect the meat between my thumb and finger. looks like a rock and a hard spot to me. Worst of all, have to have a VA doctor do the work, they can’t be sued for malpractice or anything, woe is me.

  18. Michelle Heath says

    I am due surgery in a few weeks time for ulner nerve compression, apparently it is a severe case as I have muscle wastage. I am not and never have been in any pain but I have numb fingers and loss of strength and my hand looks more like claw than a hand. I haven’t noticed it get any worse over the last 4/5 months whilst waiting for surgery and am wondering whether to cancel the surgery as I can live with this ok and the surgery doesn’t have a very good success rate so it seems. Does anyone know the dangers of not having the surgery or maybe I should postpone it and see what happens. I am left handed and the problem is with my right hand.
    Thank you

  19. Dave says

    I had Ulnar submuscular reposition surgery and carpal tunnel release on August 12, 2013, on my left arm. I woke up from surgery in a lot of pain and the nurses took care of it. I got sick on the way home and 2 more times that night. My stomach was being more of an issue than the arm. I couldn’t take any pain pills as they wouldn’t stay down. The next day, I was able to keep food down and take pain pills. It seemed to me that the cast caused me more pain than anything else. It seemed to ride on my stitches. Here it is a week later and the pain is mostly gone from the surgery. The pins and needles in my hands are gone as well. The cast itches like crazy. I have my first post op appt in two days. In 3 weeks they will be doing the same thing to my right arm and hand. I am looking forward to getting that arm fixed as well

  20. mike says

    just had ulner nerve transposition to my left arm on 11/09/13 after 4 days i have a decent amount of movement.
    However lifting anything other than a mug of tea is a little painfull
    The pain from my fingers ( little and ring ) has gone so far so good,
    I have a manual job which involves a lot of lifting so a decent amount of time out .
    will be required ,will update in a few weeks

    • says

      Hey, I’m post surgery from 17/07/13 and you will be surprised how quickly your arm heels and returns to normal, yes, obviously is sore where the scar is and strength is not 100% but it will take a while to completely heel. My pain in my hand was still there after 5 weeks but this was an over lap of my brain still fire ing messages that I was in pain when I moved my hand/fingers , as i have been in pain over a year, a drug called Gabapentin has sorted that out and no more pain :) very happy with my surgery , bring on my other arm being done next year :)) Laura

  21. Candycane says

    I had my surgery a week ago. Recovery seems to be on track and I have high hopes. Did anyone have any success in returning to yoga? Any suggestions on exercises that you were able to do more quickly after recovery?

    I’m kind of scared that I wont be able to do yoga for a year or so. I cant imagine my cardio kickboxing either. or weights. I think straight cardio, like running or the elliptical or zumba might be my first options, but I feel that strength training can be very important.

    I have my follow up to meet with my doctor and have the stiches removed 14 days after surgery. I expect he will send me back to work shortly after that.

    The hardest part for me was helping my husband with our young children (4 and 1) while they all had the stomach flu.
    I could only lift them with my right arm and laundry and such were impossible. My mother came to help but she and my dad both got sick.

    I am 33 and generally healthy, active, eat clean and always make sure to keep up my probiotics- why I didn’t get sick. So hope to have a quick recovery with regular PT.

  22. Isaac Hawes says

    Im 21 years old, I had my first Subcutaneous Ulnar nerve transposition march 2012 when I was 19, my sypmtoms were not the usual numbness and tingling, but just felt like there was constant pressure on the nerve. All of it came about from a throwing injury in 2010, I tore my UCL and was a hairline tear away from having tommy john surgery (UCL reconstruction). I wish I would have just had that surgery right then and there and would have been done with it, Tommy john has a very high rate of success especially with the Brave’s baseball surgeon in my area. Alas, life continued with 20+ weeks of therapy and rest, healed up very nicely! When I got to college my activity level increased a lot (racketball and rock climbing) both very elbow intensive activities. I ended up re injuring tendon in a way that was putting pressure on my ulnar nerve, after 5 momths of therapy we went in for the first ulnar nerve transposition, being so young my doctor wanted to do the less invasive procedure first. I had a immediate relief to the pressure I was feeling on my nerve. But after a few months and the nerve finding its new groove in my elbow, you could almost see the nerve from atop the skin. I worked at a pool company that summer and was carrying large chlorine buckets (pain free) but my elbow would bump into my side and it would be very painful, my nerve was getting hit so much. I went back to my doctor in august and she said it was too soon for the submuscular surgery. I had to wait 2 more months and had the submuscular ulnar nerve transposition in October 2012. A year and 2 months my nerve is fine. My only Issue I still have is that for my second surgery, my doctor used the same incision. this has left a TON of scar tissue under the skin that I believe is still causing pain where my nerve used to be, in the cubital tunnel. When my elbow is bent, It feels like a lot of pressure is built up in my cubital tunnel and I have to extend my elbow and extend my wrist which pops my elbow, which doesn’t hurt much, but it is annoying.

    On a side note I am a Premed student at the University of Georgia and I was actually taking Human Anatomy 1 and 2 during both my surgeries and learned a lot during the process. For those that a wondering, Sensory nerves like the ulnar nerve made up of millions of cells called Neurons. If you google a neuron you will see 2 big features called the axon and meylin sheath. Imagine the axon is a conductive wire and the meylin is the rubber around the wire. After surgery this delicate meylin has to repair and rebuild itself. But it is one of the most slow healing tissues in the body, they dont have a huge amount of blood flow. My doctor told me that depending on the person, meylin regenerates at about a rate of 0.5 -1.0 mm per week. This is only a rough estimate, but depending on the damage to the axon while it was pinched the depth of the injury might make recovery a very long process. Im still looking for a lot of answers myself on surgeries that involve cleaning up scar tissue.

  23. says

    I have NO PAIN nor numbness just weakness. My right arm lost muscle so it looks drawn like a very old person. I was told the Ulnar nerve stopped working and muscle loss has occurred. I have no manual dexterity, can drop items due to hand weakness and hard to write, type, do buttons, pick up items etc.

    I do not believe I have same symptoms as those who went for surgery. I see a nerve specialist next week so maybe I can learn WHY this happened and IF there is any solution to bring strength back. I wonder if surgery can grow muscle and Ulnar nerve back?

    Any comments to enlighten me would help! Thank you.

    • Jennufer says

      My BF just had ulnar nerve decompression with the nerve repositioned to the inner elbow under the muscle plus he had the “supercharge” surgery done as well in the wrist. This is where they take a nerve from another part of your wrist, cut it and attach it to the ulnar nerve. This is to help charge the ulnar nerve while it’s healing so that your chances of nerve regeneration is better. Both parts of the surgery are on you tube. I watched both before he had it done. Very interesting if you can handle watching it.
      My BF started noticing about a year prior weakness, numbing and tingling in his left hand and pinky, ring fingers. Over time he began to loose his strength and couldn’t pinch. Then a few weeks ago he noticed with in days that his left hand muscle bw his thumb and pointer finger was gone along with several other muscle atrophy. His left hand looked like it aged 30 years. He showed his hand to me. A few days later it was even worse. Bring a nurse I quickly sent him to our chiropractor who quickly diagnosed it and sent him to a neurologist. Test came back + for the nerve compression. He then went to Philadelphia hand surgeons and was seen by Dr. Culp.
      Here we are post op day # 2. Immediately in the pacu they couldn’t get his pain under control so they gave him a nerve block. It worked wonders. It began wearing off yesterday morning. Percocet was holding his pain level until the last hour before he could get another one. He said the throbbing was unbelievable. I called the Fellow on call and she added ibprophin to his pain control and it worked with the throbbing. Today his pain is much better but he has this huge ugly purple bruise on his upper arm.
      We will see how the rest goes.
      For the you tube videos:
      Google- Dr. Susan MacKinnon “supercharge”
      Mske sure the surgeon you are going to use is…1. The professional athletes choice in your area. 2. Is knowledgeable in this surgery. Ask how many they do per year! 3. Research the Internet for reviews. Although Dr. culp has negative reviews for bad bedside manor he is the best in the area. 4. Your surgeon should have research background!!! And most important 5. Your surgeon should have extensive training or knowledge in nerves as well. This is a nerve issue people not just ortho or muscles.
      Research the Internet on your surgery!! The more you know going in your not surprised by coming out. Nerves can take up to 1 year + to start recuperating and you will NOT be back to 100% ever!! This is nerve damage period. The longer you wait the worst you will be coming out the other end. Most of the time all this surgery will accomplish is the stop of it progressing worse, not restoring.
      We have found that from the time we were told what it was to the day of surgery that if you wrap your elbow up every night to prevent you from bending your elbow help his muscle come back a little bit before surgery. Don’t make it too tight. It should just work as a reminder not to bend it.

      • Joy says

        What type of surgeon is Dr. Culp? I need to eventually have this surgery, but my orthopedic surgeon would probably do it. He doesn’t do the wrist nerve method, though, just moves the ulnar nerve. He says it’s a simple procedure, but I am still leery after reading on here about people’s bad experiences. My last two fingers get numb sometimes but I haven’t lost an muscle yet – it’s been well over a year and a half since I first noticed the numb fingers.

      • Debbie Fusco says

        Well I have been diagnosed with a motor neuron disease weakness to my right arm and fingers with very little manual dexterity, my shoulder and foot are weak too and I could trip easily.

        Believe me this can continue to my left side and I hope it does not as I am taking measures as PT, home exercise and Mediterranean diet. I wish it was Ulnar nerve problem as if so maybe I would get over that. With the nerve damage done I was told it is irrepairable.

        Best of luck to your friend and all others with Ulnar problems.

  24. kelly lowe says

    I had the ulnar nerve surgery 8/29/14, I have had nothing but pain since and i am scared to death. The Drs will not give me anymore pain meds, and i’m thankful that they are being cautious for addiction, but i am in so much pain. I have felt something wasn’t right the entire time. I really hope i’m wrong. Although the original symptoms of numbness and tingling are gone, it really sucks to feel the pain. And the drs are making me feel like a junkie just because i want something for the pain. I would probably not do the surgery if i could just go back in time.

  25. Victoria says

    I am having the submuscular ulnar nerve transposition surgery in a couple weeks and I am very worried about the pain that I will be experiencing after surgery. Does anyone have any information on the pain level that comes with this surgery? I have had a tonsillectomy and wisdom teeth removed a few years back ands I did just fine with both of those procedures. I mostly afraid of the nerve pain. Any suggestions or information would be greatly appreciated!!!!


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