We investigated morphological changes of a released carpal tunnel in response to variations of carpal tunnel pressure. Pressure within the carpal tunnel is known to be elevated in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome and dependent on wrist posture. Previously, increased carpal tunnel pressure was shown to affect the morphology of the carpal tunnel with an intact transverse carpal ligament (TCL). However, the pressure-morphology relationship of the carpal tunnel after release of the TCL has not been investigated. Carpal tunnel release (CTR) was performed endoscopically on cadaveric hands and the carpal tunnel pressure was dynamically increased from 10 to 120 mmHg. Simultaneously, carpal tunnel cross-sectional images were captured by an ultrasound system, and pressure measurements were recorded by a pressure transducer. Carpal tunnel pressure significantly affected carpal arch area (p < 0.001), with an increase of >62 mm2 at 120 mmHg. Carpal arch height, length, and width also significantly changed with carpal tunnel pressure (p < 0.05). As carpal tunnel pressure increased, carpal arch height and length increased, but the carpal arch width decreased. Analyses of the pressure-morphology relationship for a released carpal tunnel revealed a nine times greater compliance than that previously reported for a carpal tunnel with an intact TCL. This change of structural properties as a result of transecting the TCL helps explain the reduction of carpal tunnel pressure and relief of symptoms for patients after CTR surgery.
- carpal tunnel
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine