The snapping medial antebrachial cutaneous nerve

Alper Cesmebasi, Shawn W. O'Driscoll, Jay Smith, John A. Skinner, Robert J. Spinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Snapping elbow is a well-known condition where elbow flexion and extension elicits a painful, popping sensation. The most frequent etiology is anterior dislocation of the ulnar nerve over the medial epicondyle. Four patients (3 females and 1 male) presented with complaints of a popping sensation in the elbow, pain over the medial aspect of the forearm, and ulnar neuritis. All patients underwent preoperative dynamic ultrasound and surgical exploration of the medial elbow. Intraoperatively, snapping of the MABC over the medial epicondyle was discovered in all four patients. In three patients, there was abnormal displacement of the medial triceps and ulnar nerve: in two of these, both structures dislocated over the medial epicondyle and in one patient both structures subluxated. In each case, the MABC was decompressed (n = 1) and transposed (n = 3), and in three cases, the medial triceps and ulnar nerve were addressed as well. Symptomatic improvement was achieved in all cases. Retrospective review of the ultrasound revealed the snapping MABC, though it was less effective prospectively in the cases when snapping MABC was not suspected. In conclusion, snapping of the MABC broadens the spectrum of disorders that results in snapping elbow. To our knowledge, we are unaware of prior reports of this entity. Clin. Anat. 28:872-877, 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)872-877
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • medial epicondyle
  • median antebrachial cutaneous nerve
  • snapping elbow
  • ulnar neuritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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