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Management of Recurrent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Published:August 03, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhsa.2021.05.007

      Purpose

      Few comparisons have been performed between the outcomes of surgical techniques for recurrent carpal tunnel syndrome. Using a meta-analysis, this study aimed to compare the outcomes of different surgical techniques using the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire (BCTQ) and visual analog scale (VAS) for pain as outcomes.

      Methods

      The following categories were used to define the study’s inclusion criteria: population, intervention, comparator, outcomes, and study design. Studies were examined by 2 reviewers, and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed. The studies were assigned to 1 of the following treatment groups: decompression with or without neurolysis, autologous fat transfer, hypothenar fat pad, pedicled or free flap, and “other.” For our primary outcome, we compared improvement using the BCTQ and VAS for pain between the treatment groups. For our secondary outcome, postoperative BCTQ and VAS pain values were compared.

      Results

      Fourteen studies were included: 5 case series with postoperative data only and 9 pre-post studies without a control group. With regard to our primary outcome, the studies reported an average improvement of 1.2 points (95% confidence interval [CI][1.5, 0.9]) on a scale of 1–5 on the symptoms severity scale (SSS) of the BCTQ, 1.9 points (95% CI [1.37, 0.79]) on a scale of 1–5 on the function severity scale of the BCTQ, and 3.8 points (95% CI [4.9, 2.6]) on a scale of 1–10 on the VAS for pain. We only found significantly lesser improvement in the “other” treatment group than in the hypothenar fat pad group and autologous fat transfer group using the SSS. The hypothenar fat pad group had the best reported postoperative SSS score of 1.75 (95% CI [1.24, 2.25]), function severity scale score of 1.55 (95% CI [1.20, 1.90]), and VAS pain score of 1.45 (95% CI [0.83, 2.07]).

      Conclusions

      All the techniques showed clinically important improvements in all the outcomes. We found lesser improvement in the “other” treatment group than in the hypothenar fat pad group and autologous fat transfer group using the SSS. We found that the hypothenar fat pad group had the best reported postoperative values in our secondary analysis.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Therapeutic IV.

      Key words

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