Background: Cubital tunnel syndrome is a common compressive neuropathy of the upper extremity. The anconeus epitrochlearis muscle is an unusual but occasional contributor. We review our experience with this anomalous muscle in elbows with cubital tunnel syndrome. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed charts of 13 patients noted to have an anconeus epitrochlearis muscle associated with cubital tunnel syndrome. Results: Ten patients had unilateral ulnar neuropathy supported by nerve conduction studies. Three had bilateral cubital tunnel syndrome symptoms with 1 of those having normal nerve conduction studies for both elbows. Eight elbows were treated with myotomy of the anconeus epitrochlearis muscle and submuscular transposition of the ulnar nerve. The other 8 elbows were treated with myotomy of the anconeus epitrochlearis muscle and in situ decompression of the ulnar nerve only. All but 1 patient had either clinical resolution or improvement of symptoms at follow-up ranging from 2 weeks to 1 year after surgery. The 1 patient who had persistent symptoms had received myotomy and in situ decompression of the ulnar nerve only. Conclusions: An anomalous anconeus epitrochlearis occasionally results in compression of the ulnar nerve but is usually an incidental finding. Its contribution to compression neuropathy can be tested intraoperatively by passively ranging the elbow while observing the change in vector and tension of its muscle fibers over the ulnar nerve. Regardless of findings, we recommend myotomy of the muscle and in situ decompression of the ulnar nerve. Submuscular transposition of the ulnar nerve may be necessary if there is subluxation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful to Beth at the Medical Wordsmith for her assistance in the preparation of the manuscript. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported entirely by the Department of Plastic Surgery. No funding was received from any outside source
© The Author(s) 2018.
- anatomy of upper extremity
- anomalous muscle
- compression syndrome
- ulnar nerve transposition
- ulnar neuropathy