Whereas the results of carpal tunnel syndrome decompression at the wrist can be very predictable, the results in relation to ulnar nerve decompression are mixed. Surgery is a last resort. It is best regarded as an intervention to arrest further deterioration rather than to completely reverse the symptoms as they are.
Furthermore, the ulnar nerve is a mixed nerve, which again is a factor against a complete recovery. Doing surgery to prevent deterioration is something that is not always discerned by the patient. If motor signs exist in relation to the ulnar neuritis, then there is always the risk of irreversible nerve damage ie an incomplete recovery following surgery. Notwithstanding, we would never embark upon surgery unless we felt we had an excellent chance of improving the clinical situation.
It takes about one year for the ultimate plateau of recovery to come through following . There are small risks in relation to wound infection, reflex sympathetic dystrophy which is pain and stiffness, recurrence of symptoms, persistent pain and neuroma of the cutaneous branch of the medial part of the forearm.
The surgery involves the release of the arcade, which covers the ulnar nerve and which is causing compression. Any abnormal muscle bands are also released.