Minimally Invasive Cubital Tunnel Release Utilizing Lighted Retractors: A Study of Residents Novel to This Technique Utilizing a Cadaveric Model


The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a minimally-invasive cubital tunnel release using lighted retractors could be performed safely and completely by residents with no prior training in this technique. Ten residents participated in the study. Postoperative dissection of the specimens was performed utilizing a detailed checklist and global rating scale to evaluate the completeness of release as well as presence of neurologic injury. Performance of residents was compared. Rho correlation analysis was used to verify validity of the assessment tools. Training year most strongly correlated with Global Rating Scale assessment values. There was a trend correlating training year with faster surgical times, and Detailed Checklist scores. Validation measurements showed strong correlations between the pass/fail grade and the Detailed Checklist and the Global Rating Scale. Complete release of the ulnar nerve in situ utilizing lighted retractors can be performed with minimal training or experience. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 32(3):193–198, 2023)

Key words: cubital tunnel, lighted retractor, global rating scale, resident education, ulnar nerve

Kenneth F. Taylor, MD; M. Daniel Hatch, MD; Kavita T. Vakharia, MD; and Randy M. Hauck, MD