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Scientific Articles   |    
Functional Tests to Quantify Recovery Following Carpal Tunnel Release
Robert G. Radwin, PhD1; Mary E. Sesto, PhD, PT1; Stefan V. Zachary, DO2
1 University of Wisconsin, 1550 Engineering Drive, Madison, WI 53706. E-mail address for R.G. Radwin: radwin@engr.wisc.edu
2 One South Park, Madison, WI 53715
View Disclosures and Other Information
In support of their research or preparation of this manuscript, one or more of the authors received grants or outside funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control (Grant R01 OH03300). The contents of the article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. None of the authors received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2004 Dec 01;86(12):2614-2620
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Abstract

Background: An objective test is needed to evaluate outcome following carpal tunnel release. A method to evaluate sensory and motor function related to carpal tunnel syndrome was investigated.

Methods: Thirty-six candidates for carpal tunnel surgical procedures underwent a physical examination and nerve-conduction studies and completed a survey regarding symptoms. A battery of psychomotor and sensory tests was administered bilaterally immediately before surgery and again six weeks after surgery. The outcome variables included dynamic sensory gap-detection thresholds and rapid pinch-and-release rates.

Results: The average gap-detection threshold for the index finger in the surgical-treatment group demonstrated a 43% improvement, decreasing from 0.14 mm preoperatively to 0.08 mm at six weeks postoperatively (p < 0.01). The average gap-detection threshold for the index finger in the non-surgical-treatment group demonstrated no significant improvement, decreasing from 0.10 mm preoperatively to 0.08 mm postoperatively (p = 0.10). With the upper force level set at 10% of the maximum voluntary contraction, the average pinch rate in the surgical-treatment group demonstrated a 20% improvement, increasing from 6.65 pinches per second preoperatively to 7.96 pinches per second postoperatively (p < 0.001). The average pinch rate in the non-surgical-treatment group demonstrated a 7% improvement, increasing from 6.89 pinches per second preoperatively to 7.37 pinches per second at six weeks postoperatively (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: Measurable and significantly greater improvement was observed when the surgical-treatment group was compared with the non-surgical-treatment group in terms of these two sensory and psychomotor functional testing outcomes at six weeks.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study, Level II-1 (prospective cohort study). See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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