Volume Effect of Nerve Hydrodissection for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Prospective, Randomized, and Single-Blind Study

Chien-Yao Huang, MD, Chia-Ying Lai, MD, Kenneth Dean Reeves, MD, King Hei Stanley Lam, MBBS, MSc ,Tsung-Ying Li, MD, Chin-I Cheng, PhD, Yung-Tsan Wu, MD

J Ultrasound Med (2023)


Objectives: This study compared ultrasound-guided nerve hydrodissection (HD) outcomes using two commonly used injectate volumes (10 and 5 mL) of normal saline to explore if there is a volume effect of HD for patients with moderate carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Methods: Twenty-four participants were randomly assigned to treatment with HD using ultrasound-guidance and either 10 mL or 5 mL of normal saline (HD-10 and HD-5 groups respectively). Our primary outcome measures were the change scores of the two subscales of the Boston Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Questionnaire: The Symptom Severity Scale (SSS) and Functional Status Scale (FSS). We conducted a one-way repeated analysis of variance for 3 time points (4, 12, and 24 weeks) for both SSS and FSS, respectively, for change scores from time 0, and percentage change from time 0.

Results: All participants (n = 12 per group) completed the study. From 0 to 24 weeks the HD-10 group outperformed the HD-5 group for improvement in SSS (median ± IQR; -0.8 ± 0.4 versus -0.5 ± 0.5; P = .024) and FSS scores (mean ± SD; -0.8 ± 0.2 versus -0.5 ± 0.5; P = .011). The HD-10 group improvement in FSS subtest significantly exceeded the MCID percentage-change-based threshold of 27% (34%; P = .039).

Conclusions: Despite the limitations of small study size, a largely inert injectate, and a single injection approach, these findings in favor of the 10 mL group suggest that the volume used for ultrasound-guided HD in moderate CTS matters, and a higher volume is more effective.

Keywords: carpal tunnel syndrome; hydrodissection; normal saline; volume.

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