The relationship between basal joint arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome: An MRI pilot study

Charles A. Goldfarb, Thomas R. Kiefhaber, Peter J. Stern, Dennis K. Bielecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This investigation explored 2 questions. First, does basal joint arthritis lead to morphologic alterations that significantly narrow the carpal tunnel? Second, does trapezial excision alter the morphology of the carpal tunnel and decompress the median nerve? Method: Four patients with basal joint arthritis alone were treated with ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition (LRTI) arthroplasty. Three patients with basal joint arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome were treated with LRTI and carpal tunnel release. Preoperative and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans were obtained to assess differences in carpal tunnel volume and morphology between the groups before and after surgery. Results: The difference in preoperative carpal tunnel volume between groups was not significantly different. Carpal tunnel volume increased by 7% with LRTI and by 24% after LRTI and carpal tunnel release. The anteroposterior diameter of the carpal canal increased in both groups to allow a volar migration of the median nerve. Conclusion: LRTI increases the anteroposterior diameter and volume of the carpal tunnel. A larger comparative study would be necessary to determine whether LRTI is sufficient to decompress the carpal tunnel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2003

Keywords

  • Anatomy
  • Basal joint arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • MRI
  • Trapezium

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