Purpose: This prospective observational study compared the outcomes of single-port endoscopic carpal tunnel release in patients taking narcotic pain medication chronically for back, neck, leg, or other bodily pain for more than 3 months, with patients not taking chronic narcotic pain medication (control group). Methods: Patients undergoing endoscopic carpal tunnel release completed the Levine-Katz carpal tunnel questionnaire (primary outcome) and the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire preoperatively, at 2, 4, 6, and 12 weeks, and at 1 year after surgery. We measured subjective satisfaction with surgery at each postoperative time point as well. Results: There were 14 patients in the chronic narcotic pain group and 68 in the control group. Both groups showed significant improvement in the Levine-Katz symptom and functional scores and in the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score (compared with preoperative) at nearly all times. The control group showed better scores at the early time points, but by 6 weeks, there was no difference between groups. Patient satisfaction was excellent in both groups. Conclusions: Patients who had carpal tunnel syndrome and who were receiving narcotic pain medication chronically for nonhand pain benefited from endoscopic carpal tunnel release. These patients experienced a longer recovery period but ultimately achieved the same outcomes as patients without chronic pain, as measured by the Levine-Katz scores and the DASH score. Type of study/level of evidence: Prognostic I.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- chronic pain
- endoscopic carpal tunnel release
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine