A Prospective, Randomized Trial Comparing Open and Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Within the Same Patient

Brett M. Michelotti, Kavita T. Vakharia, Diane Romanowsky, Randy M. Hauck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Surgical management of carpal tunnel syndrome includes performing an endoscopic (ECTR) or open (OCTR) carpal tunnel release. Several studies have shown less postoperative pain and improvement in grip and pinch strength with the endoscopic technique. The goal of this study was to prospectively examine outcomes, patient satisfaction, and complications after both ECTR and OCTR in the opposite hands of the same patient. Methods: This was a prospective study in which patients with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome underwent surgical release with both techniques, with initial operative approach randomized in the more symptomatic hand. Demographic data and functional outcomes were recorded, including the pain score, 2-point discrimination, Semmes-Weinstein monofilament testing, thenar strength testing, grip strength, carpal tunnel syndrome functional status score, carpal tunnel syndrome symptom severity score, and overall satisfaction. Results: Thirty patients completed the study; there were no significant differences in any measure at any of the postoperative time points. Symptom severity and functional status scores were not significantly different between groups at any evaluation. Subjectively, 24 of 30 patients did state they preferred the ECTR, mostly citing less pain as their primary reason, although pain scores were not significantly different. Differences in overall satisfaction were also not significant. Conclusions: Both techniques are well tolerated with no differences in outcomes. With the added cost and equipment associated with ECTR, and no added benefit, the usefulness of ECTR is questionable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-326
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'A Prospective, Randomized Trial Comparing Open and Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Within the Same Patient'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this