Outcomes of Open Carpal Tunnel Release at a Minimum of Ten Years

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Background:There is little research on the long-term outcomes of open carpal tunnel release. The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine the functional and symptomatic outcomes of patients at a minimum of ten years postoperatively.Methods:Two hundred and eleven patients underwent open carpal tunnel release from 1996 to 2000 performed by the same hand fellowship-trained surgeon. Follow-up with validated self-administered questionnaire instruments was conducted an average of thirteen years after surgery. The principal outcomes included the Levine-Katz symptom and function scores, ranging from 1 point (best) to 5 points (worst), and satisfaction with the results of surgery. The patients self-reported current comorbidities.Results:After a mean follow-up of thirteen years (range, eleven to seventeen years), 92% (194) of 211 patients were located. They included 140 who were still living and fifty-four who had died. Seventy-two percent (113) of the 157 located, surviving patients responded to the questionnaire. The mean Levine-Katz symptom score (and standard deviation) was 1.3 ± 0.5 points, and 13% of patients had a poor symptom score (≥2 points). The mean Levine-Katz function score was 1.6 ± 0.8 points, and 26% had a poor function score (≥2 points). The most common symptom-related complaint was weakness in the hand, followed by diurnal pain, numbness, and tingling. The least common symptoms were nocturnal pain and tenderness at the incision. Eighty-eight percent of the patients were either completely satisfied or very satisfied with the surgery. Seventy-four percent reported their symptoms to be completely resolved. Thirty-three percent of men were classified as having poor function compared with 23% of women. Two (1.8%) of 113 patients underwent repeat surgery.Conclusions:At an average of thirteen years after open carpal tunnel release, the majority of patients are satisfied and free of symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.Level of Evidence:Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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