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, 45 (4), 223-7

The Effect of Carpal Tunnel Release on Median Nerve Flattening and Nerve Conduction

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  • PMID: 16083145

The Effect of Carpal Tunnel Release on Median Nerve Flattening and Nerve Conduction

H El-Karabaty et al. Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol.

Abstract

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common entrapment neuropathy and extensive surveys have been given on the time course of electrophysiological findings pre- and postoperatively. In patients with clinical and electrophysiological confirmed diagnosis of CTS surgical decompression of the carpal tunnel is a first line treatment and has proven to be successfull in 70 to 90% of all cases. The objective of this work was to study the morphological changes of the median nerve after endoscopic release of the carpal tunnel. We used high resolution ultrasound to quantify flattening of the median nerve and to calculate a flattening ratio before endoscopic release as well as 2 weeks and 3 months postoperatively. Ten patients with clinical and electrophysiological confirmed CTS were included in the study. There was significant normalization of the calculated flattening ratio of the median nerve already 2 weeks after surgical release, whereas nerve conduction studies needed a longer period of time to normalize and thus were still abnormal 3 months postoperatively. We conclude that ultrasound is a simple and excellent objective method for visualizing the morphological recovery of the median nerve very early after decompression surgery. In complex cases with unsatisfactory outcome ultrasonography may prove useful in confirming successfull or failed decompression of the median nerve.

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