Preplacement nerve testing for carpal tunnel syndrome: is it cost effective?

J Occup Environ Med. 2004 Jul;46(7):714-9. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000131798.48162.63.


Is not hiring otherwise-qualified workers who have an abnormal post-offer preplacement (POPP) median nerve test a cost-effective strategy to reduce workers' compensation expenses related to carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)? We performed a retrospective dynamic cohort study based on 2150 workers hired at a company between January 1996 and December 2001 and who underwent POPP median nerve testing. Workers were followed until they left the company or until follow-up ended in May 2003.

Results: Thirty-five cases of work-related CTS occurred during follow-up, and 9.13 cases could have been avoided. However, if the company had not hired workers with abnormal POPP nerve test results, it would have suffered a net loss of $357,353.

Conclusion: Not hiring workers with abnormal POPP nerve tests to reduce costs of work-related CTS is not a cost-effective strategy for employers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / economics*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost Control
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neural Conduction
  • Neurologic Examination / economics*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Personnel Selection / economics*
  • Rescue Work*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Workforce