Editor's choice| Volume 44, ISSUE 11, P940-946.e4, November 2019

Patient Perspectives on Decision Making for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Published:September 17, 2019DOI:


      Interventions that improve a patient’s understanding of the problem and their options might reduce surgeon-to-surgeon variation, activate healthier patient behaviors and mindset, and optimize stewardship of resources while improving quality of care. Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) have more uncertainty about which course of action to take (so-called decision conflict) than hand surgeons. We studied patient preferences regarding shared decision making (SDM) for different parts of the treatment for CTS. We assessed the following hypotheses: (1) Younger age does not correlate with a preference for greater involvement in decisions; (2) Demographic and socioeconomic factors are not independently associated with (A) preferences for decision making (separated into preoperative, operative, postoperative, and the full SDM scale) and (B) the Control Preference Scale; (3) the SDM scale does not correlate with the Control Preference Scale.


      We prospectively invited 113 new and postoperative patients with CTS to participate in the study. We recorded their demographics and they completed the SDM scale and the Control Preference Scale.


      The full SDM scale and all subsets showed a patient preference toward sharing the decisions for treatment with the surgeon with a moderate tendency toward patients wanting more surgeon involvement in decision making. On multivariable analysis, having commercial insurance compared with Medicare was independently associated with a preference for less surgeon involvement (ie, higher SDM scores) in decision making (regression coefficient, 0.60; 95% confidence interval, 0.03–1.2).


      Patients with CTS generally prefer to share decisions with their surgeon with a tendency for more surgeon involvement especially in the operative and postoperative period.

      Clinical relevance

      Decision aids and preference elicitation tools used to ensure diagnostic and treatment decisions for CTS that are aligned with patient preferences are needed. Future studies might address the routine use of these tools on patient outcomes.

      Key words

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