Objective: This study investigated the effects of different doses of hypertonic dextrose injection on the carpal tunnel subsynovial connective tissue (SSCT) and median nerve in a rabbit model.
Methods: Thirty-eight New Zealand white rabbits weighing 4.0-4.5 kg were used. One forepaw carpal tunnel was randomly injected with one of five different treatments: saline-single injection; saline-two injections 1 week apart; 10% dextrose-single injection; 20% dextrose-single injection; or 10% dextrose-two injections 1 week apart. Animals were sacrificed at 12 weeks after the initial injection and were evaluated by electrophysiology (EP), SSCT mechanical testing and histology.
Results: There were significant increases in the energy absorption of the SSCT in the 10% dextrose-double injection group compared to the saline injection groups. SSCT stiffness was also significantly increased in the 10% dextrose-double injection group compared to the other groups. There was a significant increase in the thickness of the SSCT in the 10% dextrose-double injection group compared to the saline-single injection group and a significant decrease in the nerve short-long diameter ratio in the 10% dextrose-double injection group compared to the saline-single injection group. There were no changes in EP among the groups.
Conclusions: SSCT fibrosis is present for up to 12 weeks after dextrose injection; multiple injections have bigger effects, including what appears to be a secondary change in nerve flattening. This model may be useful to study the effects of external fibrosis on nerve morphology and physiology, such as occurs clinically in carpal tunnel syndrome.
Copyright © 2011 Orthopaedic Research Society.