Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 159, Issue 7, pp 1265–1271 | Cite as

Cubital tunnel syndrome caused by ganglion cysts: a review of 59 cases

  • Jinsong Tong
  • Bin Xu
  • Zhen Dong
  • Jingbo LiuEmail author
  • Chenggang Zhang
  • Yudong Gu
Original Article - Functional



Cubital tunnel syndrome caused by ganglion cysts is rare and reports are few. This study aimed to review a patient cohort with ganglion cysts in the cubital tunnel and identify prognostic factors.


Fifty-seven patients (59 extremities; McGowan grade I, 4; IIa, 4; IIb, 3; III, 48) were evaluated retrospectively with a minimum follow-up of 2 years. Extraneural cysts were excised completely, while intraneural cysts were incised and drained. All cases underwent subcutaneous transposition. Spearman’s rank correlation and the ordinal logistic regression model were used to assess the effect of independent variables on the postoperative McGowan grade.


VAS pain and weakness, 2-PD, key-pinch strength, grip strength, first dorsal interosseous muscle strength, Wartenberg sign, and claw hand all improved significantly. DASH scores improved from an average of 43.8 points preoperatively to 10.7 points postoperatively. According to the modified Bishop scoring system, 55 extremities (93.2%) were graded good or excellent. At the last follow-up, 29 hands (49.2%) returned to normal, and improvement by at least one McGowan grade was reached in 51 cases (86.4%). Older age, smoking, and shorter postoperative follow-up were associated with a higher postoperative McGowan grade.


Satisfactory surgical outcomes could be expected in these patients following subcutaneous transposition with excision of extraneural cysts and draining of intraneural cysts. Older age, smoking, and shorter postoperative follow-up were found to be independent risk factors for poor outcomes.


Cubital tunnel syndrome Ganglion cysts Subcutaneous transposition Prognosis Risk factors 



This study was funded by a grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China, grant no. 81371374.

Compliance with ethical standards


The National Natural Science Foundation of China provided financial support in the form of the General Program of National Natural Science Foundation, grant no. 81371374. The sponsor had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

Conflict of interest

All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving humanparticipants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individualparticipants included in the study.

Presentation at a conference


Clinical trial registration number

Not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jinsong Tong
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bin Xu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Zhen Dong
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jingbo Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Chenggang Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Yudong Gu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Hand Surgery, Huashan HospitalFudan UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Hand Reconstruction, Ministry of HealthShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Shanghai Key Laboratory of Peripheral Nerve and MicrosurgeryShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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