Tag Archive | carpal tunnel syndrome

What’s New in Hand and Wrist Surgery 2020

Every month, JBJS publishes a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of OrthoBuzz summaries of these “What’s New” articles. This month, author Christopher J. Dy, MD, MPH selected the 5 most clinically compelling findings from the more than 50 studies summarized in the March 18, 2020 “What’s New in Hand and Wrist Surgery.

Scaphoid Nonunion
—A retrospective case series investigating 3 treatments for scaphoid nonunion among >100 patients1 found the following:

  • Those receiving iliac crest bone graft (n=31), most of whom had carpal collapse with preserved proximal pole vascularity, had a union rate of 71%, a time-to-union of 19 weeks, and a reoperation rate of 23%.
  • Those receiving an intercompartmental supraretinacular artery flap (n=33), most of whom had osteonecrosis of the proximal pole and half of whom had carpal collapse, had a union rate of 79%, a time-to-union of 26 weeks, and a reoperation rate of 12%.
  • Those receiving a free vascularized medial femoral condyle flap (n=45), most of whom had carpal collapse, osteonecrosis, and prior surgery, had a union rate of 89%, a time-to-union of 16 weeks, and a reoperation rate of 16%.

—Among 13 patients with scaphoid nonunion and osteonecrosis who were treated with cancellous autograft packing and volar-plate fixation,2 there was 100% fracture union, with most achieving union within 18 weeks. However, preoperative carpal-collapse rates were not reported, making it difficult to assess the role of this procedure.

Finger Replantation: Financial Issues
—The frequency and success rates of finger replantation have been decreasing in the US. A review of physician reimbursement for these procedures3 found that replantation has lower reimbursement per work relative value unit (RVU) than many other common hand surgeries, including revision amputation, carpal tunnel release, and trigger finger surgery. This “relative devaluation” may help explain the decline in frequency and success of finger replantation.

Socioeconomics of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
—Among patients seeking treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, those from areas of “increased social deprivation” had worse physical function, pain interference, anxiety, and depression than patients from more affluent areas.4

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
—A study of preoperative dynamic ultrasound in patients with cubital syndrome5 found that ultrasound was far more reliable than preoperative clinical examinations in predicting ulnar nerve stability within the cubital tunnel (88% match with intraoperative findings vs 12% match, respectively). Preoperative ultrasound may therefore help surgeons counsel patients about the possible need for nerve transposition.

References

  1. Aibinder WR, Wagner ER, Bishop AT, Shin AY. Bone grafting for scaphoid nonunions: is free vascularized bone grafting superior for scaphoid nonunion?Hand (N Y). 2019 Mar;14(2):217-22. Epub 2017 Oct 27.
  2. Putnam JG, DiGiovanni RM, Mitchell SM, Castañeda P, Edwards SG. Plate fixation with cancellous graft for scaphoid nonunion with avascular necrosis. J Hand Surg Am.2019 Apr;44(4):339.e1-7. Epub 2018 Aug 10.
  3. Hooper RC, Sterbenz JM, Zhong L, Chung KC. An in-depth review of physician reimbursement for digit and thumb replantation. J Hand Surg Am.2019 Jun;44(6):443-53. Epub 2019 Apr 17.
  4. Wright MA, Beleckas CM, Calfee RP. Mental and physical health disparities in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome living with high levels of social deprivation. J Hand Surg Am.2019 Apr;44(4):335.e1-9. Epub 2018 Jun 23.
  5. Rutter M, Grandizio LC, Malone WJ, Klena JC. The use of preoperative dynamic ultrasound to predict ulnar nerve stability following in situ decompression for cubital tunnel syndrome. J Hand Surg Am.2019 Jan;44(1):35-8. Epub 2018 Nov 27.

What’s New in Hand Surgery 2019

Every month, JBJS publishes a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in one of 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz subspecialty summaries.

This month, Christopher J. Dy, MD, MPH, author of the March 20, 2019 “What’s New in Hand Surgery,” selected the five most compelling findings from among the 47 noteworthy studies summarized in the article.

Distal Radial Fractures
—A randomized trial comparing volar plate fixation to cast management in patients >60 years of age who had AO type-C distal radial fractures1 found that the volar plating group had better Patient-Rated Wrist Evaluation scores than the casting group after a minimum 24 months of follow-up. Maintenance of reduction was also better in the volar plating group. These findings are contrary to those of a similar randomized trial published in 2011, suggesting that there are patient-level and surgeon-level differences between the 2 environments in which the studies were conducted.

—Among 175 elderly patients with distal radial fractures treated nonoperatively and who showed acceptable radiographic reduction at 1 to 2 weeks, 28% had late displacement or malunion at the 3-month follow-up.2 Relative to cases in which reduction was maintained, cases with late displacement or malunion had lower grip strength and loss of the total wrist range of motion. However, there was no between-group difference in patient-reported functional measures, and the incidence of the most common complication—carpal tunnel syndrome—was the same in both groups.

Scaphoid Fractures
—Findings from a biomechanical study with cadavers suggest that 50% cortical healing of a scaphoid fracture after open reduction and internal fixation with a compression screw is sufficient to allow unrestricted activity.3 Constructs with a 50% osteotomy and compression screw showed the same load to failure as intact scaphoids, but load to failure in a group with a 75% osteotomy and compression screw was lower than that in the intact scaphoid group.

—Traditionally, surgeons have emphasized proximal pole vascularity in cases of scaphoid nonunion. However, a study of 35 scaphoid nonunions treated with nonvascularized bone grafting and a headless compression screw4 found that 33 fractures went on to union, despite evidence of compromised proximal pole vascularity in 14 of 32 patients who had histopathological data available.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
—A cross-sectional study analyzing data from 367 patients who presented for evaluation of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)5 found that those with the poorest socioeconomic status had worse PROMIS scores for physical function, pain interference, depression, and anxiety, compared with those in the least-deprived quartile. Deprived patients were also more likely to have a higher comorbidity burden and to use tobacco, both of which may influence outcomes after CTS treatment.

References

  1. Martinez-Mendez D, Lizaur-Utrilla A, de-Juan-Herrero J. Intra-articular distal radius fractures in elderly patients: a randomized prospective study of casting versus volar plating. J Hand Surg Eur Vol.2018 Feb;43(2):142-7. Epub 2017 Sep 4
  2. Wadsten MÅ, Sjödén GO, Buttazzoni GG, Buttazzoni C, Englund E, Sayed-Noor AS. The influence of late displacement in distal radius fractures on function, grip strength, range of motion and quality of life. J Hand Surg Eur Vol.2018 Feb;43(2):131-6. Epub 2017 Jul 31.
  3. Guss MS, Mitgang JT, Sapienza A. Scaphoid healing required for unrestricted activity: a biomechanical cadaver model. J Hand Surg Am.2018 Feb;43(2):134-8. Epub 2017 Nov 7.
  4. Rancy SK, Swanstrom MM, DiCarlo EF, Sneag DB, Lee SK, Wolfe SW; Scaphoid Nonunion Consortium. Success of scaphoid nonunion surgery is independent of proximal pole vascularity. J Hand Surg Eur Vol.2018 Jan;43(1):32-40. Epub 2017 Sep 24.
  5. Wright MA, Beleckas CM, Calfee RP. Mental and physical health disparities in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome living with high levels of social deprivation. J Hand Surg Am.2018 Jun 23. [Epub ahead of print].

October 2018 Article Exchange with JOSPT

jospt_article_exchange_logo1In 2015, JBJS launched an “article exchange” collaboration with the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) to support multidisciplinary integration, continuity of care, and excellent patient outcomes in orthopaedics and sports medicine.

During the month of October 2018, JBJS and OrthoBuzz readers will have open access to the JOSPT article titled “Validity of Clinical Small-Fiber Sensory Testing to Detect Small–Nerve Fiber Degeneration.

This prospective, cross-sectional, diagnostic-accuracy study found that pinprick testing, followed by warm and cold tests if pinprick is normal, is a valid and cost-effective method to detect small-fiber degeneration in a carpal tunnel syndrome model of neuropathy.

JBJS 100: Bankart Repair, Carpal Tunnel Assessment

JBJS 100Under one name or another, The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery has published quality orthopaedic content spanning three centuries. In 1919, our publication was called the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the first volume of that journal was Volume 1 of what we know today as JBJS.

Thus, the 24 issues we turn out in 2018 will constitute our 100th volume. To help celebrate this milestone, throughout the year we will be spotlighting 100 of the most influential JBJS articles on OrthoBuzz, making the original content openly accessible for a limited time.

Unlike the scientific rigor of Journal content, the selection of this list was not entirely scientific. About half we picked from “JBJS Classics,” which were chosen previously by current and past JBJS Editors-in-Chief and Deputy Editors. We also selected JBJS articles that have been cited more than 1,000 times in other publications, according to Google Scholar search results. Finally, we considered “activity” on the Web of Science and The Journal’s websites.

We hope you enjoy and benefit from reading these groundbreaking articles from JBJS, as we mark our 100th volume. Here are two more:

The Bankart Procedure: A Long-Term End-Result Study
C R Rowe, D Patel, W W Southmayd: JBJS, 1978 January; 60 (1): 1
This was the first large clinical series with long follow-up to report the findings and results of the open Bankart repair. The results were almost uniformly excellent or good, and this study contributed to the demise of nonanatomic shoulder repairs.

A Self-Administered Questionnaire for the Assessment of Severity of Symptoms and Functional Status in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
D W Levine, B P Simmons, M J Koris, L H Daltroy, G G Hohl, A H Fossel, J N Katz: JBJS, 1993 January; 75 (11): 1585
Distinguishing interventions that work from those that don’t requires rigorous outcomes research, which, in turn, relies on standardized, patient-centered measures that have proven reliability and validity. Meeting these criteria are the Symptom Severity and Functional Status Scales for carpal tunnel syndrome described in this oft-cited JBJS study from 25 years ago.

JBJS 100: Carpal Tunnel and THA

JBJS 100Under one name or another, The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery has published quality orthopaedic content spanning three centuries. In 1919, our publication was called the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the first volume of that journal constituted Volume 1 of what we know today as JBJS.

Thus, the 24 issues we turn out in 2018 will constitute our 100th volume. To help celebrate this milestone, throughout the year we will be spotlighting 100 of the most influential JBJS articles on OrthoBuzz, making the original content openly accessible for a limited time.

Unlike the scientific rigor of Journal content, the selection of this list was not entirely scientific. About half we picked from “JBJS Classics,” which were chosen previously by current and past JBJS Editors-in-Chief and Deputy Editors. We also selected JBJS articles that have been cited more than 1,000 times in other publications, according to Google Scholar search results. Finally, we considered “activity” on the Web of Science and The Journal’s websites.

We hope you enjoy and benefit from reading these groundbreaking articles from JBJS, as we mark our 100th volume. Here are two more:

The Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Seventeen Years’ Experience in Diagnosis and Treatment of 654 Hands
George S. Phalen: JBJS, 1966 March; 48 (2): 211
Everything Phalen presented about carpal tunnel syndrome in 1966 holds true more than 50 years later. This includes his descriptions of the anatomical, epidemiologic, histologic, and clinical features of carpal tunnel syndrome and his emphasis on careful history-taking and physical examination.

Periprosthetic Bone Loss in Total Hip Arthroplasty: Polyethylene Wear Debris and the Concept of the Effective Joint Space
T P Schmalzried, M Jasty, W H Harris: JBJS, 1992 Jan; 74 (6): 849
The insights offered by these authors radically altered our thoughts about osteolysis. Using this concept of effective joint space, subsequent investigators and innovators identified methods and designs of hip replacements to retard osteolysis by limiting the generation and spread of particulate debris.

What’s New in Hand and Wrist Surgery

Hand Wrist for O'Buzz.jpegEvery month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of some of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in one of 13 orthopaedic subspecialties during the previous year. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.

This month, OrthoBuzz asked Sanjeev Kakar, MD, the author of the March 15, 2017 Specialty Update on hand and wrist surgery, to select five of the most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 40 he cited in the article.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

—The AAOS published updated clinical practice guidelines on the evaluation and treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Among the conclusions are the following:

  • Thenar atrophy is strongly associated with ruling in carpal tunnel syndrome but poorly associated with ruling it out.
  • High body mass index and repetitive hand and wrist actions are associated with an increased risk of developing CTS.
  • Surgical division of the transverse carpal ligament should relieve symptoms and improve function compared with nonoperative treatment.
  • There is no benefit to routine postoperative immobilization after CTS surgery.

Wrist Fracture

—If a distal radius fracture is displaced, especially in an elderly patient, should one proceed with nonoperative or operative treatment? A systematic review/meta-analysis1 involving more than 800 patients 60 years of age or older found that operatively treated patients had greater grip strength and better restoration of radiographic parameters than nonoperatively treated patients. However, those who underwent surgery also experienced more complications (primarily hardware-related) that required surgery.

Thumb and Digit Arthritis

—There are a myriad of treatments for the management of basilar thumb arthritis, ranging from trapeziectomy to fusion. Which one is better, especially if the scaphotrapeziotrapezoid joint is not involved? A prospective study was conducted randomizing women older than 40 with basal thumb joint arthritis to trapeziectomy and suspension arthroplasty or carpometacarpal joint arthrodesis. After a mean follow-up of 5.3 years, those in the trapeziectomy-suspension arthroplasty group had significantly better pain reduction and function.2 Researchers halted the study prematurely due to increased complications in the arthrodesis group.

Outcome Measurement Tools

—Among the many patient-reported outcome measures for the upper extremity, which should be used for which conditions? For distal radius fractures, a systematic approach has been proposed3 that captures outcomes across five domains: range of motion and grip strength, patient-reported scores of disability and function, complications, pain, and radiographs.4

—Is there any way to make the collection of patient-reported outcomes easier and less time-consuming? An assessment that compared two forms of computerized adaptive tests (CATs) with the DASH (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand) measure among 379 hand-clinic patients found that the CAT required fewer questions to complete than the DASH, yet maintained excellent reliability.5

References

  1. Chen Y, Chen X, Li Z, Yan H, Zhou F, Gao W. Safety and efficacy of operative versus nonsurgical management of distal radius fractures in elderly patients. A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Hand Surg Am. 2016 ;41(3):404–13. Epub 2016 Jan 20.
  2. Spekreijse KR, Selles RW, Kedilioglu MA, Slijper HP, Feitz R, Hovius SE, Vermeulen GM. Trapeziometacarpal arthrodesis or trapeziectomy with ligament reconstruction in primary trapeziometacarpal osteoarthritis: a 5-year follow-up. J Hand Surg Am. 2016 ;41(9):910–6.
  3. Teunis T, Ring D. Comprehensive outcome assessment after distal radius fracture. J Hand Surg Am. 2016 ;41(8):e257. Epub 2016 Jun 11.
  4. Waljee JF, Ladd A, MacDermid JC, Rozental TD, Wolfe SW, Distal Radius Outcomes Consortium. A unified approach to outcomes assessment for distal radius fractures. J Hand Surg Am. 2016;41(4):565–73.
  5. Beckmann JT, Hung M, Voss MW, Crum AB, Bounsanga J, Tyser AR. Evaluation of the patient-reported outcomes measurement information system upper extremity computer adaptive test. J Hand Surg Am. 2016 ;41(7):739–744.e4. Epub 2016 Jun 3.

March 2017 Article Exchange with JOSPT

JOSPT_Article_Exchange_Logo.pngIn 2015, JBJS launched an“article exchange” collaboration with the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) to support multidisciplinary integration, continuity of care, and excellent patient outcomes in orthopaedics and sports medicine.

During the month of March 2017, JBJS and OrthoBuzz readers will have access to the JOSPT article titled “The Effectiveness of Manual Therapy Versus Surgery on Self-reported Function, Cervical Range of Motion, and Pinch Grip Force in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial.”

In that clinical trial of 100 women with carpal tunnel syndrome randomized to receive either manual therapy or endoscopic decompression/release, researchers found that both interventions had similar outcomes in self-reported function and pinch-tip grip force at 3, 6, and 12 months of follow-up. However, at 1 month, there were significant between-group differences in favor of manual therapy. No changes in cervical range of motion were observed after either manual therapy or surgery at any time point.

Appropriate Use Criteria for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Benson Headshot.jpgOrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. This guest post comes from Leon S. Benson, MD.

Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) are suggested treatment algorithms for a variety of common orthopaedic conditions, published by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
These algorithms follow logically from the AAOS’s earlier work in publishing Clinical Practice Guidelines, and the methodology behind development of Appropriate Use Criteria is available in great detail on the AAOS website.

It is clear that the recent creation of Appropriate Use Criteria for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), like the other AUC algorithms, was very thoughtful and included the input of numerous experts. It is also clear that these criteria reflect an enormous amount of time and energy on the part of the AUC workgroup in attempting to reflect the best available evidence in managing carpal tunnel syndrome, while also allowing reasonable latitude in judgment on the part of the treating clinician.

The CTS AUC, like all AAOS AUC, are available as a downloadable application for virtually any computer or mobile platform. Using the AUC app is simple. The clinician selects items that correspond to elements of the patient’s history, physical examination, and testing/imaging findings, and then the AUC app categorizes various treatment (and/or workup) options as “appropriate,” “may be appropriate,” or “rarely appropriate.”

However, a few quirks of the CTS AUC may annoy some experienced clinicians. For example, in grading the patient’s history, the app requires that the clinician use either the Katz Hand Symptom Diagram or the CTS-6 history survey. I doubt that most seasoned hand surgeons routinely use these history tools unless their patient is enrolled in a research study. Additionally, the CTS-6 history survey lists “nocturnal numbness” as a choice; carpal tunnel patients typically report nocturnal pain that awakens them from sleep, not numbness (which is usually noticed upon awakening in the morning). In fact, nocturnal pain is probably the most reliable historical detail in confirming carpal tunnel syndrome. The CTS-6 criteria also give considerable weight to the presence of a positive Phalen’s test and Tinel’s sign even though these findings are commonly present in patients who have no pathology. The absence of these physical findings in patients who are suspected of carpal tunnel syndrome is probably more meaningful.

For the most part, though, the CTS AUC get a lot right about currently accepted treatment pathways for carpal tunnel syndrome. Playing around with the app, I was unable to create a combination of history, physical findings, and test data that produced treatment options with which I couldn’t agree. Furthermore, the AUC permit enough latitude in treatment recommendations to encompass the personal preferences of the vast majority of hand surgeons.

But perhaps the most compelling question is — why do we need an AUC app in the first place?  Doctors crave autonomy for many reasons, not the least of which are the extreme time commitment and intellectual demands of medical training, including residency and fellowship. Furthermore, orthopaedic judgment is refined through years of practical experience accrued over the course of a career. How can that be simulated with a simplified decision tree that boils everything down to a handful of categories?  And few fellowship-trained hand surgeons will immediately like the idea of an amorphous body of “experts” coming up with an iPhone app to tell them how to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.

However, there is another, critically important theme to the AUC story.  Our colleagues who contribute their expertise to the AAOS AUC projects are actually providing a huge service to orthopaedic patients nationwide.  As health-care delivery in the United States evolves, third-party payors and policy decision-makers are demanding that treatments be evidence based and consistent with expert consensus of “best practices.”  If doctors themselves do not weigh in on this topic, stakeholders who are neither patients nor providers will make up the rules. Most certainly, that would be less optimal for patients than physician experts helping craft treatment parameters, even if the parameters so created are not perfect or applicable to every imaginable clinical scenario.

With this perspective in mind, the CTS AUC have achieved reasonable goals, and they support most of the commonly recommended treatment approaches to managing carpal tunnel syndrome.  More importantly, the AUC-development process allows the community of orthopaedic specialists to have a seat at the table when value-based medicine is demanded, as it should be, by both our patients and policy-makers.

Although my pride might be a little bruised when I imagine practicing medicine by checking off boxes on a mobile app, I can handle it if it strengthens the identity of orthopaedic surgeons as leaders in doing what’s best for our patients.

Leon S. Benson, MD is chief of the Division of Hand Surgery at NorthShore University Healthsystem, professor of clinical orthopaedic surgery at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and a hand surgeon at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute. He is also a JBJS associate editor.

What’s New in Hand Surgery

Every month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all OrthoBuzz Specialty Update summaries.

This month, OrthoBuzz asked Sanjeev Kakar, MD, the author of the March 16, 2016 Specialty Update on hand surgery, to select the five most clinically compelling findings from among the more than 30 he cited in his article.

Wrist Trauma

–In the treatment of distal radius fractures, is volar plating superior to closed reduction and pin fixation? A prospective randomized trial of 461 adults with acute dorsally displaced distal radial fractures that were amenable to closed reduction found no clinically significant differences in Patient-Rated Wrist Evaluation (PRWE) scores among those who underwent percutaneous wire fixation and those who underwent locking-plate fixation. The findings led the authors to conclude that when looking at functional outcomes, treatments other than plate fixation may suffice.1

–Authors of a cost and utility analysis of 268 patients with a surgically treated distal radial fracture concluded that the routine use of radiographs made at two weeks postoperatively is of little clinical benefit, except in cases of patients with high-energy intra-articular fractures or those who sustain an injury after surgery.2

Wrist Arthritis

–To challenge conventional dogma that the contralateral wrist of rheumatoid arthritis patients who undergo wrist arthrodesis must maintain motion in order for them to perform activities of daily living, a long-term study followed 13 bilateral wrist arthrodesis patients for an average of 14 years. The major functional limitations noted were turning a door knob and opening a tight jar lid. Increasing age, preoperative corticosteroid use, and concomitant shoulder or elbow disorders were associated with worse outcomes. Ninety-three percent of the patients expressed satisfaction and said they would repeat the bilateral procedure.3

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

–Should one perform staged or simultaneous carpal tunnel surgery? A cost-effectiveness study of simultaneous versus staged bilateral carpal tunnel release in 198 patients found that those who underwent simultaneous surgery had significantly fewer days off work and fewer postoperative follow-up visits, and they also incurred significantly lower costs in terms of mean amounts billed and fees collected.4

Trapeziometacarpal Joint Arthritis

–Is there an optimal suspension arthroplasty for the treatment of basilar thumb arthritis? A randomized controlled trial of 79 patients with trapeziometacarpal arthritis found that functional/clinical outcomes at 12 months were essentially the same between a group that underwent ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition (LRTI) and a group that underwent trapeziectomy and flexor carpi radialis weave around the abductor pollicis longus tendon. The notable exception was an improvement in PRWE scores at three months among those who underwent the LRTI procedure.5

References

  1. Costa ML, Achten J, Parsons NR, Rangan A, Griffin D, Tubeuf S, Lamb SE;DRAFFT Study Group. Percutaneous fixation with Kirschner wires versus volar locking plate fixation in adults with dorsally displaced fracture of distal radius: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2014;349:g4807. Epub 2014 Aug 5
  2. Stone JD, Vaccaro LM, Brabender RC, Hess AV. Utility and cost analysis of radiographs taken 2 weeks following plate fixation of distal radius fractures. J Hand Surg Am. 2015 Jun;40(6):1106-9. Epub 2015 Mar 31.
  3. Wagner ER, Elhassan BT, Kakar S. Long-term functional outcomes after bilateral total wrist arthrodesis. J Hand Surg Am. 2015 Feb;40(2):224-228.e1. Epub 2014 Dec 13.
  4. Phillips P, Kennedy J, Lee T. Cost effective analysis of simultaneous versus staged bilateral carpal tunnel release. Read at the American Association for Hand Surgery Annual Meeting; 2015 Jan 21-24; Paradise Island, Bahamas. Paper no. 104.
  5. VermeulenGM, Spekreijse KR, Slijper H, Feitz R, Hovius SE, Selles RW.Comparison of arthroplasties with or without bone tunnel creation for thumb basal joint arthritis: a randomized controlled trial. J Hand Surg Am. 2014 Sep;39(9):1692-8. Epub 2014 Jun 10.

History of Diabetes Predicts Symptom Recurrence after Steroid Injection for CTS

Among a prospectively enrolled group of 49 patients (54 wrists) with mild or moderate carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) who received a single corticosteroid injection, 79% experienced symptom relief at six weeks. Reporting in the October 7, 2015 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, Blazar et al. found that the rate of freedom from symptom recurrence in this cohort was 53% at six months and 31% at one year after injection. During the study period, 19 wrists underwent surgical carpal tunnel release at a median time of 181 days post-injection.

Diabetic patients in the study (13% of the wrists enrolled) were at a 2.6-fold greater risk of reporting recurring symptoms within one year of follow-up. In a univariable analysis, a 1-point increase in the baseline Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire symptom score increased the risk of patients reporting post-injection symptoms by 5%, but that association became nonsignificant during multivariable analysis. Pre-injection symptom duration, patient age, and pre-injection electrophysiologic grade did not predict either symptom recurrence or subsequent intervention.

Blazar et al. add that their exclusion of people with normal electromyography results and those with severe carpal tunnel syndrome created a rather homogenous study population. Thus, they say, “these results may not be generalizable to all patients who present with clinical signs or symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.” Still, the findings should help orthopaedists counsel patients with CTS about the results they might expect from a single corticosteroid injection.