Open Carpal Tunnel Release Using a 1-Centimeter Incision: Technique and Outcomes for 104 Patients

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Abstract

The advantages of endoscopic carpal tunnel release, compared with traditional open techniques, include smaller incisions, less scar tenderness, and faster recoveries. However, endoscopic carpal tunnel release has also been associated with higher complication rates. The goal of this study was to evaluate the safety and functional outcomes of minimal-incision open carpal tunnel release. In this prospective study involving a 2-year period, 104 patients (149 hands) underwent open carpal tunnel release with a 1-cm incision. Prospective data on complications among 104 patients were recorded, and functional outcomes among 20 patients were assessed by using the Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire, the Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function Test, and pinch/grip strength testing. Data were collected before the operation and 3 weeks and 6 months after the operation. Complications included three wound infections and one carpal tunnel syndrome recurrence, 18 months after the initial release procedure. Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire scores improved significantly between the preoperative and postoperative periods. There were no significant changes in Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function Test results or pinch/grip strength. Minimal-incision open carpal tunnel release can be performed safely and is associated with good functional outcomes. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 111: 1616, 2003.)

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