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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Had submuscular transposition of ulna. Have tightness and numbness. Have prickly pins, needles and burning sensation. What to do?

Answered by
Dr. Rahul D Chaudhari

Spine Surgeon

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 322 Questions

Posted on Mon, 29 Jul 2013 in Back Pain
Question: I had submuscular transposition of ulnar nerve 8 days ago with no improvement of the pinkie finger having this disturbing tightness and numbness and now he has doubled in this feeling along with now having very prickly pins and needles and burning sensation at the tip.. I told my doctor. He could see me saying it is not better but not that things are twice as worse. He also treated me for a pain/ decreased range of motion in my shoulder/arm. Before surgery he placed a steroid injection somewhere in my upper back near the trapezeous muscle since I had pin dot pain there and when I would raise my arm half way up the pain would jump to the mid anterior humerus, sometimes even jump to the forearm- not radiate but jump. The first injection did not work. So during surgery he injected 2 syringe full of steroid into my bursa sac. Did not really work either. I had MRI done of my left shoulder and entire arm but not my neck. An MRI I had done 10 years ago showed I had degenerative disc disease of cervical 2-7 with encroachment and impingement of nerves. This ortho doctor that did my ulnar surgery never did an MRI of my neck. He does not do spine and neck surgery. After reading on the internet that the ulnar nerve can be trapped by your shoulder or somewhere in the cervical region what are the chances that this could be the case with me. What are the chances that that is why I have no difference in my pinkie since surgery. This all started in Feb. 5 months ago in my pinkie, part of the 4th finger and the lateral 1/3 of the palm. It was not gradual. It was instant disturbing tightness and numbness. If you based it on severity on a scale of 1-10, it was a 7/10 five months ago. My doctor tells me he does not believe I waited too long for the surgery. The nerve conduction test showed I had moderate to severe damage. And on physical examination by the nerve doctor there that I had some muscle atrophy. My fingers do not have signs of curling. Should I request for my ortho doctor to send me to a neck/spine doctor for further evaluation of possible continuing ulnar nerve entrapment at the shoulder, neck, or spine? Is there any hope for me because I have told my self I cannot deal with this disturbing prickliness, tightness, and numbness forever. I have even considered amputation of the pinkie if it does not get better. Please give me your thoughts on the matter.
Answered by Dr. Rahul D Chaudhari 2 hours later
Thanks for writing to us.
Your doubt very much valid. Any patient with tingling and numbness in hand should be thoroughly investigated. Most common reason are cervical myelopathy or nerve entrapment along its course. Routinely we do MRI spine and EMG NCV studies to establish the diagnosis. I would suggest to get a fresh MRI spine and get a thorough exam by a spine specialist. Thanks.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

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