Scientific Article|Articles in Press

Intraoperative Conversion From Endoscopic to Open Carpal Tunnel Release: A Systematic Review and Case Series

Published:August 13, 2022DOI:


      The purpose of this study was to assess the incidence, outcomes, and complications associated with conversion from endoscopic carpal tunnel release (ECTR) to open carpal tunnel release (OCTR).


      A retrospective case review of all patients who underwent ECTR over 4 years by 2 fellowship-trained hand surgeons at a single academic center was performed. We recorded outcomes and the reason for conversion in patients who underwent conversion to an OCTR. Baseline demographics and surgical complications were compared between the 2 groups. A systematic review was performed to define the incidence and reasons for conversion from ECTR to OCTR. Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, we included clinical studies of ECTR from 2000 to 2021.


      In the retrospective series, 9 of 892 (1.02%) ECTR cases underwent conversion to an OCTR at the time of the index procedure. One of 9 converted cases had transient neurapraxia involving the recurrent motor branch after surgery compared with 0 cases in the group that underwent ECTR without conversion. Improvements in the visual analog scale for pain and QuickDASH were noted at a mean of 46 weeks after surgery in the group that underwent conversion to OCTR. The systematic review identified an incidence of conversion of 0.62%. The most common reasons for conversion to OCTR in the case series and systematic review were poor visualization due to hypertrophic tenosynovium and aberrant nerve anatomy.


      The overall incidence of intraoperative conversion from ECTR to OCTR during the index procedure was 1.02%, with the most common reasons for conversion being poor visualization due to hypertrophic tenosynovium and aberrant nerve anatomy. Patients who undergo conversion from ECTR to OCTR demonstrate improvements in pain and disability, similar to patients who undergo ECTR without conversion.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Therapeutic IV.

      Key words

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