Incidence of carpal tunnel release: Trends and implications within the United States ambulatory care setting

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73 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate the changes, trends, and implications of carpal tunnel release (CTR) surgery within an ambulatory setting over the past decade in the United States. Methods: We undertook an analysis of ambulatory surgery center CTR cases using data from the National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention carried out this survey in 1996, and again in 2006. We searched the cases with the procedure codes indicative of CTR. Results: The number of CTR procedures increased by 38% (from 360,000 to 577,000) between 1996 and 2006. In 1996, 16% of all ambulatory CTRs were performed in freestanding ambulatory surgery centers (hospital-based centers were 84%), and the proportion increased to 49% in 2006. By 2006, greater than 99% of CTRs were performed in an ambulatory setting. There was a significant increase in women aged 50 to 59 years of age undergoing CTR. Conclusions: The minimal invasiveness of CTR combined with the advent of ambulatory care facilities has made CTR a predominantly outpatient procedure. In contrast to other reports, our study demonstrated a higher incidence of CTR within the United States in 2006 compared with 1996. Elderly women, in particular, with CTS were 3 times more likely to be treated surgically than other age groups. Further study is needed to better define factors influencing CTR indications. Type of study/level of evidence: Prognostic II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1599-1605
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • ambulatory surgery
  • carpal tunnel release
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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