Trends in Open and Endoscopic Cubital Tunnel Release in the Medicare Patient Population

Tsun Yee Law, Zachary S. Hubbard, Lee Onn Chieng, Harvey W. Chim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Cubital tunnel syndrome (CUT) is the second most common peripheral neuropathy with an annual incidence of 24.7 per 100 000, affecting nearly twice as many men as women. With increasing focus on cost-effectiveness and cost-containment in medicine, a critical understanding of utilization of health care resources for open and endoscopic approaches for cubital tunnel release is of value. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the costs and utilization trends of open and endoscopic cubital tunnel release. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of a Medicare database within the PearlDiver Supercomputer (Warsaw, Indiana) for procedures performed from 2005 to 2012. Annual utilization, charges, reimbursement, demographic data, and compound annual growth rate were evaluated. Results: Our query returned 262 104 patients with CUT, of which 69 378 (26.5%) and 4636 (1.8%) were surgically managed with open and endoscopic release respectively. Average charges were higher in endoscopic release ($3798) than open release ($3197) while reimbursements were higher in open releases ($1041) than endoscopic release, ($866). Both were performed most commonly in the <65 years age range. Conclusions: Despite the unexpectedly lower reimbursement rate with endoscopic release, endoscopy utilization is growing faster than open releases in the Medicare population. Lower reimbursement is likely related to lack of a dedicated current procedural terminology code for endoscopic cubital tunnel release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-412
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • cubital tunnel release
  • endoscopic
  • minimal invasive
  • open decompression
  • ulnar nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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