Endoscopic release of the carpal tunnel: A randomized prospective multicenter study

J. M. Agee, H. R. McCarroll, R. D. Tortosa, D. A. Berry, Robert M Szabo, C. A. Peimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

414 Scopus citations


A 10-center randomized prospective multicenter study of endoscopic release of the carpal tunnel was carried out. Surgery was performed with a new device for transecting the transverse carpal ligament while control hands were treated with conventional open surgery. There were 122 patients in the study; 25 had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands and 97 had surgery on one hand. Of the surgical procedures, 65 were in the control group and 82 were in the device group. The endoscopic device was coupled to a fiberoptic light and a video camera. A trigger-activated blade was used to incise the transverse carpal ligament. After surgery, the best predictors of return to work and to activities of daily living were strength and tenderness variables. For patients in the device group with one affected hand, the median time for return to work was 21 1/2 days less than that for the control group. Two patients treated with the endoscopic device required reoperation by open surgical decompression; only one of these had incomplete release with the device. Two patients in the device group experienced transient ulnar neurapraxia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-995
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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