, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 85-89
Date: 27 Mar 2007

Management of Recurrent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with Microneurolysis and the Hypothenar Fat Pad Flap

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Abstract

A retrospective chart review for the period between 1998 and 2006 was conducted to evaluate microneurolysis combined with a hypothenar fat pad flap (HTFPF) for patients at Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona, who were being treated for recurrent carpal tunnel syndrome. After exclusion of patients with incomplete release of the transverse carpal ligament at the time of the original operation, 28 consecutive patients were identified. Their average age was 68.5 years (range 43–89 years). The average interval between the original carpal tunnel release and reexploration was 82 months (range 5–298 months). The average follow-up was 10.5 months (range 3–48.4 months). The preoperative two-point discrimination tests averaged 7 mm (range 5–12 mm). At surgery, all patients were found to have fibrosis surrounding the median nerve with adherence of the nerve to the radial leaf of the transverse carpal ligament. After surgery, the Tinel sign disappeared in 26 of 28 patients and two-point discrimination improved to an average of 6 mm (range 4–8 mm). Postoperative grip strength averaged 20 kg, compared with 11 kg preoperatively. Pain completely disappeared in 83% of patients (average improvement 93%, range 5–100%). Numbness completely disappeared in 42% of patients (average improvement 82.9%, range 5–100%). Tingling disappeared in 50% of patients (average improvement 84.7%, range 5–100%). No patient reported being worse after reoperation. These results suggest that the combination of microneurolysis and HTFPF can restore median nerve gliding and provide soft-tissue coverage, improving symptoms in patients with recurrent carpal tunnel syndrome.

Oral presentation at the 71st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, San Francisco, California, March 10–14, 2004.
Oral presentation at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Hand Surgery, Fajardo, Puerto Rico, January 12–15, 2005.
Poster presentation at the 60th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, San Antonio, Texas, September 22–24, 2005.