The management of cubital tunnel syndrome: A meta-analysis of clinical studies

A. Mowlavi, K. Andrews, S. Lille, S. Verhulst, E. G. Zook, S. Milner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Despite extensive clinical experience in treating cubital tunnel syndrome, optimal surgical management remains controversial. A meta-analysis of 30 studies with accurate preoperative and postoperative staging was undertaken. Patients were staged preoperatively into minimum, moderate, and severe groups on the basis of clinical presentation. Treatment modalities included nonoperative management, surgical decompression, medial epicondylectomy, anterior subcutaneous transposition, and anterior submuscular transposition. Statistical analysis using a standard SAS database with analysis of variance and chi-square tests was used to assess the efficacy of each therapeutic modality. For minimum-staged patients, all modalities produced similar degrees of satisfaction. However, total relief occurred most after medial epicondylectomy and least after anterior subcutaneous transposition. Patients treated nonoperatively had the highest rate of recurrence. For moderate-staged patients, submuscular transposition was most efficacious, whereas patients with nonoperative management fared the worst. Finally, for severe-staged patients, current therapeutic modalities were not consistently effective, with medial epicondylectomy producing the poorest operative result. This article reveals statistically significant differences in outcomes among therapeutic modalities, which may assist in treatment planning; it introduces standardized methods to aid in determining, analyzing, and communicating treatment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-334
Number of pages8
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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