The carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common median nerve compression disease which may result in impaired nerve function. This study was carried out to determine which treatment is more appropriate for moderate or severe CTS patients with or without risk factors.
Materials and methods
In a cohort prospective study, the patients with moderate CTS received a conservative treatment including night splint for 3 months, one methyl prednisolone injection whereas patients with severe CTS underwent surgical release. They were followed for 1 year using the bland scale based on the electromyography and nerve conduction velocity studies and five-point global assessment outcome scale.
Totally, 68 moderate CTS cases (32 patients with risk factors and 36 without any risk factors) and 32 cases with severe CTS (16 patients with risk factors and 16 without any risk factors) were assess at 6 months and 1 year following the treatment. Although about 22% of moderate CTS patients with risk factors changed to mild CTS after 6 months of conservative treatment, about 75% showed mild CTS or complete remedy following 1 year (P value < 0.001). This result was about 30% at 6 months and about 95% at 1 year following conservative treatment in patients with moderate CTS without risk factors. None of moderate CTS patients with or without risk factors underwent surgery after 1 year of follow-up. Although almost all patients with severe CTS, with and without risk factors, showed complete recovery or changed to mild CTS at 1 year postoperatively, the result was statistically significant for cases without risk factors (P value = 0.002).
Conservative treatment for moderate CTS would be a good option, and the final result may be seen 1 year later; however, its positive effect is quicker and better for moderate CTS cases without risk factors. Surgical release of the carpal tunnel may be the best choice not only for severe CTS cases with risk factors but also for cases without risk factors. For obtaining consistent rapid result, it is recommended to do surgical release for all cases of moderate or severe CTS without considering risk factors, but more clinical researches are needed.
Level of evidence
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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Jahrom University and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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Pourmokhtari, M., Mazrooyi, M. & Vosoughi, A.R. Conservative or surgical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome based on the severity and patient risk factors. Musculoskelet Surg 105, 315–319 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12306-020-00663-x
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Risk factors