Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

, Volume 134, Issue 4, pp 585–593 | Cite as

Effectiveness and safety of endoscopic versus open carpal tunnel decompression

  • Long Chen
  • Xin Duan
  • Xiao Huang
  • Jingtong Lv
  • Kun Peng
  • Zhou XiangEmail author



To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of endoscopic carpal tunnel release (ECTR) and open carpal tunnel release (OCTR) using a meta-analysis of data from randomized controlled trials.

Materials and methods

Electronic searches of the Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, Issue 11 of 12, Nov 2012), PUBMED (1980 to Dec 2012), and EMBASE (1980 to Dec 2012) were used to identify randomized controlled trials that evaluated endoscopic vs open methods for treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Studies to be used were independently identified by two researchers. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed by the Cochrane Collaboration tool for assessing risk of bias.


Fifteen randomized controlled trials involving 1,596 hands were included. Based on the Cochrane Collaboration tool for assessing risk of bias, four studies were rated as high quality, five studies were rated as moderate quality, and six were rated as low quality. Our meta-analysis indicated that ECTR resulted in better recovery of pinch strength, earlier time of return to work, but a higher rate of reversible nerve problems (including neurapraxia and numbness) than OCTR. ECTR also resulted in a lower rate of irreversible nerve damage (P > 0.05), wound problems (including wound infection, wound hematoma and wound dehiscence) and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (P > 0.05) compared with OCTR. Our meta-analysis revealed no obvious statistical differences in relief of symptoms (pain and paraesthesia), recovery of grip strength and reoperation rate.


Our meta-analysis of available randomized controlled trials demonstrated that ECTR and OCTR were similar in relief of symptoms, but ECTR resulted in better recovery of function and earlier return to work and was safer than OCTR.


Carpal tunnel syndrome Effectiveness Endoscopic carpal tunnel release Meta-analysis Open carpal tunnel release Safety 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Long Chen
    • 1
  • Xin Duan
    • 1
  • Xiao Huang
    • 1
  • Jingtong Lv
    • 1
  • Kun Peng
    • 1
  • Zhou Xiang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedics, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduChina

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