Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Technologies and Procedures Developed By Quad-City Surgeon Lead to Faster Recovery


Pain in the fingers, wrist, hand,  and elbow is a common symptom of cubital tunnel syndrome. Dr. Tyson Cobb from Orthopaedic Specialists has a minimally invasive procedure to eliminate symptoms and provide a speedy recovery.

Technologies and procedures transforming hand and upper extremity surgery are being put into practice right here in the Quad Cities.

Dr. Tyson Cobb, fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon and director of the hand and upper extremity center at Orthopaedic Specialists in Davenport, works with his partners at the American Hand Institute to develop innovative surgical procedures that drastically reduce downtime and minimize pain and discomfort. 

The Latest Innovation: Endoscopic Biceps Tendon Retractor
Biceps injuries can cause significant pain and lead to reduced arm strength and function. In the past, surgery for this condition required a large, open incision and a lengthy downtime. Working with his partners at the American Hand Institute, Dr. Cobb designed, developed, and patented an innovative minimally invasive surgical device that allows this operation to be performed through a  1-inch incision. That means patients typically experience less pain and a shorter recovery. 

Dr. Cobb’s minimally invasive tool utilizes an endoscope, or lighted camera, to view the internal structures. This makes it possible to locate the retracted biceps and reattach the tendon onto the bone through a small opening located within the elbow crease.

“Additionally, because this new surgical technique can be performed through such a small incision in the elbow crease, it results in a much more cosmetically pleasing and less visible scar,” said Dr. Cobb.

Best Practice Technology: Endoscopic Cubital Tunnel Release
Another best practice technology pioneered by Dr. Cobb and his colleagues is endoscopic surgery to treat cubital tunnel syndrome.

Cubital tunnel syndrome is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow. There is a small tunnel in the inner portion of the elbow through which the ulnar nerve passes. The ulnar nerve lies directly next to the bone and is susceptible to pressure. This site is commonly called the “funny bone.” When the pressure on the nerve becomes great enough to disturb the way the nerve works, numbness, tingling, and pain may be felt in the elbow, forearm, hand and/or fingers.

Dr. Cobb performs endoscopic cubital tunnel release as a minimally invasive method of relieving cubital tunnel syndrome. During surgery, a small (approximately one inch) incision is made on the elbow through which an endoscope is inserted to allow Dr. Cobb to view the surgery on a monitor. Special instrumentation developed and patented by Dr. Cobb is used to free the nerve. This technique results in a smaller incision, less scarring, less pain and a faster recovery. Studies have shown that this technique results in a return to normal activity/work in an average time of one week compared to 70 days for the more invasive techniques that previously set the standard for relief of cubital tunnel syndrome.

Eugene Burken from Miles, Iowa is a retired farmer who has raised game birds for 25 years. Over time, he began losing feeling in the last two fingers of his left hand, and was also experiencing tingling and pain.

After hearing about the minimally invasive surgery option, he made an appointment with Dr. Cobb. After being diagnosed with cubital tunnel syndrome, he underwent surgery.

“The following day I was outside driving a truck,” said Eugene. “Now that was a fast recovery!”

What to Do if You Suffer From Hand or Upper Extremity Pain
Those who suffer from pain in their hands and upper extremities should consider the following:

  • Track your symptoms. Keep notes on what symptoms you experience, how long they last and what types of tasks or activities you were doing at the time. Your health care provider will find this information very useful during diagnosis.
  • Explore the possibilities. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you’re not satisfied with an initial diagnosis. Remember to ask about minimally invasive options.
  • Don’t wait. Above all, do not wait to get your symptoms treated if they are interfering with your daily routine. New techniques can get you back to the life you love faster.

Dr. Tyson Cobb practices at Orthopaedic Specialists, with offices in Davenport, Moline, and Clinton. For more information about Orthopaedic Specialists, go to osquadcities.com or call 563-344-9292.

To learn more about the American Hand Institute, go to amhandinst.com.