When compressed nerve conditions are nonresponsive to conservative treatment, surgical intervention may help relieve the pressure and release the area of compression.

Generally performed as an outpatient procedure, patients are given either a general or regional anesthetic depending on the location of the nerve. In most nerve decompression procedures involving the hand and arm, an axillary block is used. An incision is made over the area of suspected compression and the soft tissue is gently moved aside in order to examine all possible areas responsible for compressing or pinching the affected nerve. When identified, compression is relieved. The manner in which compression is relieved depends on the source of the pinching or compression.

The skin is then sutured and rehabilitative exercises begin once the surgical site begins to heal.