Clinical classification and treatment of cubital tunnel syndrome

The aim of this study was to investigate a new clinical classification of cubital tunnel syndrome that provides a superior basis for the clinical diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Retrospective analysis was performed on 341 patients with cubital tunnel syndrome. Based on the etiology, signs and symptoms, neurophysiological tests and computed tomography (CT) imaging, a new clinical classification was proposed. The patients enrolled in the study were treated according to the new classification. According to the new classification, cubital tunnel syndrome cases were divided into types I-IV. Treatment for patients with type I consisted of rest, immobilization or physiotherapy, while patients with type II received simple ulnar neurolysis. Type III patients underwent ulnar neurolysis with expansion of the ulnar nerve sulcus or ulnar nerve anterior transposition surgery. Type IV patients were a subgroup of cubital tunnel syndrome cases caused by factors other than degenerative joint diseases, including cysts, tumors, traumatic fracture, deformity and elbow deformity. Such patients received appropriate surgical treatment according to the specific etiology. Based on previous classifications that relied on sensation and strength symptoms, a new clinical classification of elbow tunnel syndrome has been established in the present study that adopts a CT imaging evaluation index. The new classification is reasonable, simple and practical, and therapies based on this classification are more focused than those based on previous classifications.