Outcomes of Pediatric and Adolescent Carpal Tunnel Release

Katherine Velicki, Charles A. Goldfarb, Summer Roberts, Lindley B. Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) presentation and long-term outcomes of carpal tunnel release (CTR) in children and adolescents. Methods: All pediatric and adolescent patients who underwent CTR between February 2003 and June 2018 were identified. Patients were grouped by etiology: lysosomal storage disease (11 hands), idiopathic (6 hands), acute traumatic (7 hands), delayed traumatic (5 hands) and tumorous (2 hands). Medical records were reviewed for presenting symptoms and preoperative treatments. Final outcomes were assessed via phone interviews, chart review, the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire (BCTQ), and Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) scores. Results: All 25 patients (31 hands) identified were included in the study; median age at surgery was 12.7 years (range, 2.5–23.3 years). Eighteen patients completed surveys at a median of 4.7 years after surgery (range, 8 months–16 years). Common presenting symptoms in lysosomal storage disease were numbness/tingling (7 hands); pain was only reported in 1 hand. The most frequent indication for acute traumatic CTR (7 hands) was palmar hand swelling at the carpal tunnel (4 hands). Delayed traumatic and idiopathic CTS most often presented with numbness/tingling (4 hands and 6 hands, respectively) and pain (3 hands, 4 hands, respectively). Of the original 4 lysosomal storage disease surgeries included in long-term follow-up, all experienced gradual recurrence of symptoms after years of relief (range, 3–14 years). Two patients underwent revision CTR and were symptom-free at follow-up. All patients with acute traumatic and tumorous etiologies had full resolution of symptoms. Delayed traumatic and idiopathic etiologies frequently experienced recurrent or recalcitrant symptoms (4 of 5 and 3 of 6 surgeries, respectively). Conclusions: Carpal tunnel release often alleviates symptoms in children with lysosomal storage disease for years to decades. Carpal tunnel release successfully relieves symptoms in acute traumatic cases, but is not always sufficient to relieve symptoms associated with delayed traumatic etiologies. Approximately half of patients with idiopathic CTS experience recalcitrant or recurrent symptoms. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-186
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Adolescent
  • carpal tunnel release
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • outcomes
  • pediatric


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