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Nonsurgical Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Survey of Hand Surgeons.

Billig JI, Sears ED. Nonsurgical Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Survey of Hand Surgeons. Plastic and reconstructive surgery. Global open. 2022 Apr 1; 10(4):e4189.

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Background: The nonsurgical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) consists of multiple modalities: splinting, corticosteroid injections, hand therapy, and oral medications. However, data supporting the effectiveness of these different modalities are varied, thus creating controversy regarding the optimal nonsurgical treatment. It is unknown how current hand surgeons utilize nonsurgical treatments for CTS. Methods: An anonymous web-based survey was sent to 3289 members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand to assess nonsurgical treatment patterns for CTS. We pretested the survey using expert survey and content review and cognitively tested the survey for readability and understandability. Results: We analyzed surveys from 770 hand surgeons. Of the respondents, 41.2% of respondents recommend steroid injections for the treatment of CTS, 81.3% of respondents do not believe that oral steroids are beneficial for the treatment of CTS, and 3.6% of respondents typically prescribe gabapentinoids for the treatment of CTS. In total, 561 (72.9%) respondents always, usually, or sometimes encounter patients with more than two steroid injections for CTS before hand surgeon evaluation. Conclusions: There is variation in the use of nonsurgical modalities for the treatment of CTS among American Society for Surgery of the Hand members. However, patients do not obtain long-term benefit from multiple steroid injections and gabapentinoids for the treatment of CTS, highlighting the importance of dissemination of evidence-based nonsurgical management of CTS. Collectively, these findings underscore the importance of providing clear guidelines as to which patients benefit most from nonsurgical treatments.

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