Endoscopic carpal tunnel release (ECTR) provides the same cure from carpal tunnel syndrome as does open carpal tunnel release (open CTR), but with less pain, less problems and a quicker return to work and other activities. Compared to open CTR, ECTR leads to less pain and weakness, and a quicker return to work.1-3
However, many people are not aware that there are two different types of ECTR: the one-incision technique and the two-incision technique. Both techniques use an incision over the wrist. But the two-incision ECTR places ana second incision in the palm of your hand. This palmar wound causes additional discomfort. In addition, this wound needs to be protected, meaning that immediately after surgery your hand is wrapped, decreasing how much you can do. For the one-incision ECTR there are no bandages over your hand because there are no incisions in your hand. Because of this, there is less palmar tenderness, and most patients regain motion and return to work and other activities quicker following single-incision ECTR compared to following two-incision ECTR.1 So while the two-incision ECTR may be shown in more advertisements, the one-incision ECTR is currently the least invasive technique for carpal tunnel release, the one that can get you back the quickest.
So if you want to get back to the activities you like to do the fastest, forget the hype and focus on the facts. The one-incision ECTR is the way to go.
1) Palmer DH, Paulson JC, Lane-Larsen CL, Peulen VK, Olson JD: Endoscopic carpal tunnel release: A comparison of two techniques with open release. Arthroscopy 9:498-508, 1993.
2) Feuerstein M, Burrell LM, Miller VI, Lincoln A, Huang GD, Berger R: Clinical management of carpal tunnel syndrome: A 12-year review of outcomes. Am J Ind Med 35:232-45, 1999.
3) Kerr CD, Gittins ME, Sybert DR: Endoscopic versus open carpal tunnel release: Clinical results. Arthroscopy 10:266-9, 1994.