Pioneering surgeon, Dr. Tyson Cobb, identified as one of only four doctors nationwide to perform minimally invasive elbow surgery
Procedure reduces average recovery time from 70 to 7 days
(November 24, 2008, Quad Cities) – Quad Citian Eric Swanson is an avid outdoorsman, insurance agent and part-time contractor who makes a living using his hands. Yet, sudden numbness in his arms and fingers kept him sidelined for fear he may hurt himself. “I would be pounding a nail and all of sudden the hammer would go flying,” Swanson recalls.
Swanson was diagnosed with cubital tunnel syndrome – a close cousin of the more widely known carpal tunnel syndrome. While carpal tunnel originates in the wrist and hand, cubital tunnel results from compression of the ulnar nerve at the elbow. It is usually caused by repetitive elbow stress, injury or chronic inflammation. Swanson’s doctor, fellowship-trained hand surgeon Dr. Tyson Cobb, Orthopaedic Specialists, PC, Davenport, performed a revolutionary technique that left a one-inch scar and resulted in immediate improvement. “Right after surgery the pain and numbness were gone, and I was using my hands two days later,” Swanson recalls.
The technique that Dr. Cobb and his colleagues perform is called Endoscopic Cubital Tunnel Release and uses a new tool he helped invent. “Typical cubital tunnel surgeries involve a open X inch incision that can damage muscle and nerve tissue – resulting in an expensive surgery with recovery times that last weeks or months,” Dr. Cobb explains. “We are now using a special tool, called a canula, that actually protects the ulnar nerve so that with an endoscope, we can perform the surgery through a one-inch incision. Patients heal much faster and are back to work and productive. It’s also a more cost-effective procedure because there are fewer complications.” Even Swanson admits he had put off the surgery because he was worried about time off. “I can’t afford to be out of work for weeks,” he explains. Now, Dr. Cobb, a specialist in hand and microvascular surgery, is training other surgeons around the world on the new technique.
Who is at risk for cubital tunnel syndrome? Those with increased risk are men, workers whose job requires repetitive flexion and extension of the elbow; people who sleep with bent elbows; or those with conditions such as diabetes or thyroid disorders.
Symptoms of cubital tunnel syndrome: Numbness of tingling in the ring and little finger; weakness in the hand, tenderness at the elbow; or sharp, sudden pain on elbow contact.
TO EDITORS: Surgical video is available. Local cubital tunnel patients can be identified. Contact Angie Van Utrecht, OS, (563) 344-9292, AVanUtrecht@qcorthospecialists.com For a video demonstration on the procedure visit: http://www.ilstraining.com/
Orthopaedic Specialists is based in Davenport, IA, and is the only local group of orthopedic surgeons of which all members are board certified and fellowship trained. OS treats a range of muscle, bone and joint disorders including arthritis, total joint replacement, sports medicine, spine and arthroscopic management of knee, ankle, hand, elbow, wrist and shoulder injuries.