The author describes and details the anatomy of the carpal tunnel and surrounding structures pertinent to the surgical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Potential complications of both open and endoscopic carpal tunnel release are discussed as well as techniques to avoid or minimize poor patient outcomes.
Allan H. Friedman
Allan H. Friedman, W. Jeffrey Elias and Rajiv Midha
Surgery aimed at repairing damaged peripheral nerves has a long history. Refuting the timehonored nihilism of Hippocrates and Galen that an injured nerve cannot regain function, a few adventurous medieval surgeons attempted to repair severed nerves.6,8 However, the ability of a peripheral nerve repair to restore function was not generally accepted until 1800.1,4 Neurosurgeons, beginning with Harvey Cushing, have had an interest in repairing damaged peripheral nerves.2 Significant progress in the treatment of peripheral nerve injuries resulted from experience with the numerous injuries that occurred during World Wars I and II.3,7,12 Surgeons steadily defined the anatomy of peripheral nerves and developed techniques for decompressing and repairing peripheral nerves.9,11 Kline and Dejonge5 developed an intraoperative electrophysiological technique for detecting axons regenerating across a damaged segment of nerve. In the second 2 decades of the 20th century, distal nerve transfers were rediscovered whereby the proximal end of a less essential nerve is used to reinnervate the distal end of a nerve, providing a more vital function.10
Philip Henkin and Allan H. Friedman
Complications may result from every facet of the management of carpal tunnel syndrome. The authors review the common errors in diagnosis, nonoperative management, and operative treatment, with emphasis on prevention and resolution of complications. In general, surgeons can minimize complications by taking a thorough patient history, performing a comprehensive physical examination, and possessing a precise knowledge of the appropriate anatomy. Endoscopic techniques appear to offer some advantage over conventional open techniques with regard to the patient's postoperative incision pain, preservation of grip strength, and time to return to work; however, these advantages may be potentially negated by the risk of injury to neurovascular structures and tendons.
Eric M. Gabriel and Allan H. Friedman
Allan H. Friedman and Charles G. Drake
✓ Rupture of an intracranial dissecting aneurysm is a rare but dangerous event. The authors' experience with 14 cases of these lesions on the vertebrobasilar circulation suggests that these aneurysms have typical angiographic silhouettes and that, at least in the vertebral artery, they are treatable by proximal arterial occlusion.
Allan H. Friedman, Blaine S. Nashold Jr. and Janice Ovelmen-Levitt
✓ Post-herpetic pain was treated in 12 patients using dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) lesions. All patients had failed to receive adequate pain relief from conservative therapy consisting of transcutaneous nerve stimulation, carbamazepine, and/or amitriptyline. Dorsal root entry zone lesions were made to include the involved dermatomes plus one-half of the dermatomes above and below the painful areas. Eight patients reported good pain relief with follow-up periods ranging from 6 to 21 months. A ninth patient obtained satisfactory pain relief, but the superior 1 cm of the original painful area was not included in the distribution of the DREZ lesions. Patients whose lesions were performed using a thermally controlled lesion probe suffered no significant postoperative neurological deficit. Dorsal root entry zone lesions appeared to be a satisfactory treatment for post-herpetic neuralgia in patients who have failed to respond to more conservative modes of therapy.
Allan H. Friedman and Blaine S. Nashold Jr.
✓ Fifty-six patients with intractable pain following a spinal cord injury were treated with dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) lesions. After a follow-up period ranging from 6 months to 6 years, 50% of patients had good pain relief. Certain pain syndromes tended to respond better to DREZ lesions than did others. Patients with pain extending caudally from the level of the injury and patients with unilateral pain were most likely to obtain pain relief from the procedure; diffuse pain and predominant sacral pain did not respond as well.
Ciaran J. Powers and Allan H. Friedman
✓The authors present a brief and selective history of surgery for peripheral nerve tumors to illustrate how the current understanding of the nature of disease influences the choice of surgical intervention. There was very little understanding of the anatomy and function of peripheral nerves in ancient times; consequently, surgical treatments for peripheral nerve tumors were based on the writings of authorities. The confusion between traumatic neuromas and genuine nerve sheath tumors coupled with the belief that manipulation of a peripheral nerve might be lethal to the patient stifled the development of surgical techniques for the management of nerve tumors in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was not until the 20th century, with an increased understanding of the microscopic anatomy of nerve sheath tumors, that efficacious surgical treatments for these diseases were developed. Continued advances in the understanding of the biology of these tumors will continue to impact their surgical management.