✓In the past few years, several different minimally invasive surgical techniques have been proposed to decompress the median nerve at the wrist. Use of these techniques has become widespread due to fewer local complications, faster functional recovery, and reduced surgical time. In this paper the authors compare 3 different minimally invasive surgical techniques used at their institution in the past 13 years. Between January 1994 and January 2007, 891 patients underwent 1272 surgeries at the authors' institution for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), for which a minimally invasive technique was used. In 473 cases (Group A), the transillumination technique with a single wrist incision and a “carpalotome” (a modified Paine retinaculotome) was used; in 216 cases (Group B), transillumination was abandoned and a single linear wrist incision for access with the carpalotome was performed; and in 583 cases (Group C), the techniques were further modified by making a second incision in the palm using the carpalotome. All 3 groups of patients were homogeneous for age, sex, and duration of the symptomatology. In 90% of the patients in Group A, in 88% of those in Group B, and 99.8% of patients in Group C, complete remission of symptoms was obtained. Due to persistence of symptoms, 44 patients in Group A, 24 in Group B, and only 1 in Group C underwent a repeated operation with the open technique. The only surgical complication requiring repeated operation of the 1272 operations was a lesion of the primitive median artery (1 patient in Group C).
The technique of median nerve decompression at the wrist that was used for patients in Group C represents a valid alternative for treatment of CTS.