The Effectiveness of Hydrodissection with 5% Dextrose for Persistent and Recurrent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Retrospective Study

Ta-Chung Chao, Kenneth Dean Reeves, King Hei Stanley Lam, Tsung-Ying Li and Yung-Tsan Wu

J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(13), 3705


Patients with failure of primary surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) present a frustrating clinical problem because there are no relevant treatment guidelines, and the effect of current conservative management or revision surgery is unsatisfactory. Hydrodissection with 5% dextrose is emerging as an effective treatment for primary CTS and may be an effective alternative treatment method for persistent or recurrent post-surgical CTS. We retrospectively investigated the long-term effectiveness of hydrodissection with 5% dextrose for persistent or recurrent CTS. Thirty-six of forty consecutively-treated patients with either persistent or recurrent symptoms of CTS after surgery, who were treated with ultrasound-guided hydrodissection of the median nerve using 10 mL of 5% dextrose, were available to provide outcome data by a structured phone interview at least six months after treatment completion. Symptom relief ≥ 50% represented an effective outcome, while symptom relief < 50% was rated as a poor outcome. Nearly 2/3 (61.1%) of patients reported an effective outcome after a mean of 3.1 injections, with a post-injection follow-up mean of 33 (6–67) months. A non-significant trend toward a more frequently-effective outcome was observed in those with recurrent versus persistent symptoms following CTS (76.9% vs. 52.2%, p = 0.165). However, a significantly higher percentage of those with recurrent symptoms reported an excellent outcome, defined as a greater than 70% improvement (8/13 [61.6%] vs. 3/23 [13%], p = 0.006). The percentage of patients achieving an effective outcome was not significantly different between <2, 2–4, and >4 years of post-treatment follow-up (36.4% vs. 77.8% vs. 57.1%; p = 0.077). Hydrodissection with 5% dextrose may result in a clinically important and durable benefit in those experiencing persistent or recurrent CTS after surgery.


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