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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006 Jan;117(1):177-85.

Endoscopic carpal tunnel release: a review of 753 cases in 486 patients.



Endoscopic carpal tunnel release is gaining increasing acceptance relative to the standard open carpal tunnel release for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Concerns about endoscopic carpal tunnel release include effectiveness of therapy and complication rates. This study attempted to evaluate outcomes of endoscopic carpal tunnel release in a large patient cohort.


Four hundred eighty-six patients (753 hands) with carpal tunnel syndrome who underwent endoscopic carpal tunnel release by a single surgeon were reviewed retrospectively. Data included demographics, subjective complaints, prior interventions, preoperative examination findings, and postoperative follow-up. All follow-up data were obtained from a single, independent, occupational therapy clinic.


Median patient age was 48 years. Three hundred seventy-seven patients were gainfully employed at presentation, and 206 filed a worker's compensation claim. Median symptom duration was 2 years. Nonoperative therapy was ineffective in 151 patients. Preoperative nerve conduction studies were consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome in 472 patients (97 percent); all patients had either physical examination findings or nerve conduction studies consistent with carpal tunnel syndrome. Four hundred eighty-six patients (100 percent) obtained symptom relief. Complications included one transient median nerve neurapraxia, six complaints of residual pain, and one complaint of hypersensitivity. Worker's compensation patients and non-worker's compensation patients returned to work full-duty at similar times postoperatively. Ninety percent of employed patients returned to their original occupation.


The authors' data indicate that an endoscopic approach for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome is safe and effective. Patients demonstrated a high return-to-work rate and an extremely low complication rate. The data challenge the belief that endoscopic carpal tunnel release results in higher complication rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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