Median Nerve and Carpal Tunnel Morphology Before and After Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release: A 6-Year Follow-up Study.
BACKGROUND: Our purpose was to describe structural and morphological features of the median nerve and carpal tunnel on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies obtained before, immediately after, 6 weeks after, and 6 years after endoscopic carpal tunnel release (ECTR).
METHODS: In this prospective cohort study, 9 patients with a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) underwent ECTR. Standardized MRI studies were obtained before ECTR, immediately after ECTR, and 6 weeks and 6 years after surgery. Structural and morphological features of the median nerve and carpal tunnel were measured and assessed for each study with comparisons made between each time point.
RESULTS: All 9 patients had complete symptom resolution postoperatively. On the immediate postoperative MRI, there was a discrete gap in the transverse carpal ligament in all patients. There was retinacular regrowth noted at 6 weeks in all cases. The median nerve cross-sectional area and the anterior-posterior dimension of the carpal tunnel at the level of the hamate increased immediately after surgery and these changes were maintained at 6 years.
CONCLUSIONS: We defined structural and morphological changes on MRI for the median nerve and carpal tunnel in patients with continued symptom resolution 6 years after ECTR. Changes in median nerve and carpal tunnel morphology that occur immediately after surgery remain unchanged at mid-term follow-up in asymptomatic patients. Established imaging criteria for CTS may not apply to postoperative patients. Magnetic resonance imaging appears to be of limited clinical utility in the workup of persistent or recurrent CTS.
Published In/Presented At
Grandizio, L. C., Rocha, D. F. B., Beck, J. D., Hostmeyer, S., Chorney, M. L., Udoeyo, I. F., Malone, W. J., & Klena, J. C. (2023). Median Nerve and Carpal Tunnel Morphology Before and After Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release: A 6-Year Follow-up Study. Hand (New York, N.Y.), 18(1_suppl), 56S–61S. https://doi.org/10.1177/15589447211058819
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Surgery