Objectives: We compared two mini skin incision techniques utilized in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
Methods: Twenty-seven patients who underwent surgery for CTS were evaluated in two groups according to the site of the mini incision performed for surgical release. A single mini skin incision was performed over the transverse carpal ligament in 12 patients (group 1; 17 hands; 1 man, 11 women; mean age 55 years; range 38 to 66 years), and on the distal side of the ligament in 15 patients (group 2; 17 hands; all women; mean age 54 years; range 34 to 71 years). The two groups were compared with regard to improvement in pain and numbness, rigidity and sensitivity of the scar tissue, time to use the hands, and palmar pinch and grip strengths. The mean follow-up was 26.6 months in group 1, and 23.7 months in group 2.
Results: Complete disappearance of symptoms was obtained in 14 wrists (82.4%) in group 1, and in 15 wrists (88.2%) in group 2, with no significant difference between the two groups (p>0.05). Rigidity and sensitivity of the scar tissue were seen in nine wrists (52.9%) in group 1, and in two wrists (11.8%) in group 2 (p<0.05), which lasted 3.5 months and 1.5 months, respectively. In group 2, time to use the affected hand for basic needs (9 days) and normal function (21 days) was significantly shorter, compared to 18 days and 35 days in group 1, respectively (p<0.05). The mean differences of grip and pinch strengths of the two hands were -2.78 kg and -0.60 kg in group 1, and -0.77 and -0.46 kg in group 2, respectively (p>0.05).
Conclusion: Although both methods of release yield satisfactory results in the mid- and long-term, mini skin incision performed on the distal side of the transverse carpal ligament is associated with less incision-related morbidity.