What is Radial Tunnel Release at the Elbow?
Radial tunnel release at the elbow is a procedure performed to ease radial tunnel syndrome. This is accomplished by relieving radial nerve compression.
Who needs Radial Tunnel Release at the Elbow?
The radial nerve runs down the outer side of the elbow to the hand. The radial tunnel is the channel made of muscle and bone that the radial nerve travels through. Radial tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the radial nerve is compressed along the way to the wrist and hand.
What are the steps in Radial Tunnel Release at the Elbow?
Preparing for the Procedure
Once the patient has been positioned to allow the surgeon access to the radial nerve, anesthesia is administered. Then, the area in which the procedure is to be performed is made clean and sterile.
Access to the Joint
An incision is made to the outer side of the elbow. This incision gives the surgeon access to the radial tunnel.
The roof of the radial tunnel in the area being compressed is carefully opened by the surgeon. The surgeon may do this in multiple areas if multiple areas are being compressed. Lifting the roof is done to create more space for the nerve.
Ending the Procedure
The surgeon then closes the incision with sutures, bandages the arm and places it into a splint. The splint may need to be worn for two to six weeks after the procedure is performed.
This procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. This means the patient is often able to go home the day of or after the procedure. Physical therapy may be needed to help return normal motion and strength after the procedure.