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J Hand Surg Am. 1996 Sep;21(5):855-7.

Distribution of nerve fibers in the standard incision for carpal tunnel decompression.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Arrowe Park Hospital, Upton, United Kingdom.


Twenty-two paired biopsy specimens of skin and subcutaneous tissue from the proximal and distal halves of the conventional curvilinear incision or carpal tunnel decompression were histologically examined. The specimens were immunohistochemically stained with S100 antibody to highlight the nerve fibers. The mean count of free nerve endings in the proximal biopsy site was 4.42/mm2 (SD, 2.97; range, 1.23-12.27), compared to 4.2/mm2 (SD, 2.71; range, 1.01-10.50) in the distal biopsy specimens. This difference was not statistically significant (p = .20, Wilcoxon's signed ranks [matched pairs] test). The proximal incision site for carpal tunnel decompression did not appear to be more neuroreceptive than the distal incision site, providing no support for the implication of proximal incision sites in proximal scar tenderness.

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