Ulnar Decompression Surgery Recovery-- anyone here have any experience?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by dalexan242, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. dalexan242

    dalexan242 Blue Belt

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    I've had bad elbows with lots of tendinitis for at least the last 15 years due to over-aggressive weight training, but last year around this time was when I first had to take time off training BJJ for my elbow. I was out a month, trained 4 months, out 3 months, back training about 6 months (but training was horrible since I was focused so much on protecting my elbow). Pinky numb for about the past 8 months. Close to 4 months of PT didn't really seem to help much so I finally decided to have decompression surgery.

    On initial visit the PA and all my online research suggest a 2 week recovery period if I didn't have to have the nerve relocated (they ended up not having to relocate, just clean out a ton of scar tissue). My surgeon in my initial visit suggested recovery would be more like 6-8 weeks. Morning of the surgery when he came in to see me he then suggested that recovery would be more like 10-12 weeks (although at that time he wasn't sure if he would have to relocate the nerve). I have my follow-up tomorrow morning so not sure what he's going to say then. I have a feeling that since he's familiar with athletes/BJJ that he knows if he tells me 10-12 weeks then there's a fair chance I'll interpret that as 5-6 weeks because I'm stupidly obsessed with training (to be fair, he's completely correct that I will do this).

    I couldn't really find much online about BJJ players recovering from this surgery, but there was an extract of a college wrestler who had the nerve relocated and was 100% after 15 days and I think Jacare had a fight about 4 months after the same surgery. I'm 41, not 21 and nowhere near as healthy as a college wrestler, but I was just curious whether any other posters had an ulnar decompression and what kind of recovery period they had before they could resume (a) exercise like very light yoga, (b) non-intense drilling, (c) rolling.

    Just to get the standard initial responses to these kinds of threads out of the way--
    --I am not seeking medical advice, just anecdotal experiences.
    --I already had the surgery last week and did pretty much everything reasonably possible to avoid surgery.
    --My surgeon either trains BJJ himself or is familiar enough with the sport that when I first saw him he asked me specific questions about my training that only someone who is very familiar with the sport would think to ask (gi/no-gi, what kinds of guards I played, etc.).
    --I know everyone gets irritated when the front page is littered with injury threads, but I did a couple of searches and found some past threads on ulnar issues but didn't see any on this surgery.

    Any relevant info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. punky brewster

    punky brewster Black Belt

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    Did you have an epicondylectomy, or simple decompression?
     
  3. dalexan242

    dalexan242 Blue Belt

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    Simple decompression.
     
  4. punky brewster

    punky brewster Black Belt

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    I've seen a few performed in the OR, but I'm not a Dr., just a radiology tech. I've done a lot of post procedure imaging at an orthopedist's office and can tell you that most "failed" surgeries on extremities are a result of improper aftercare.

    Your doc probably gave you a better-safe-than sorry estimate, and most ortho surgeons are actually very knowledgeable about most sports. Many of them go to symposiums and conferences about sport-specific injuries, including martial arts injuries.

    I say better be safe than sorry as well, I know it sucks when you feel you need to roll. I don't think ulnar decompression is a high-risk surgery as far as re-injury trauma is concerned, but.....

    I know the tendency is "well, I'll just go very light and if it starts to hurt I'll stop", but that's how it almost always goes before any re-injury...

    Wish I could give you a better answer, but most doctors are cool and will be willing to talk to you, just ask the exact same question you asked here. "Do I really need to do this, Dr?", most will be straight-up and give you a risk-reward scenario.
     

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