Does sensory relearning improve tactile function after carpal tunnel decompression? A pragmatic, assessor-blinded, randomized clinical trial

Christina Jerosch-Herold (Lead Author), Julie Houghton, Leanne Miller, Lee Shepstone

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Despite surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) being effective in 80-90% of cases, chronic numbness and hand disability can occur. The aim of this study was to investigate whether sensory relearning improves tactile discrimination and hand function after decompression. In a multi-centre, pragmatic, randomized, controlled trial, 104 patients were randomized to sensory relearning (n=52) or control (n=52) group. 93 patients completed 12 week follow-up. Primary outcome was the Shape-Texture Identification (STI) test at 6 weeks. Secondary outcomes were touch threshold, touch localisation, dexterity and self-reported hand function. No significant group differences were seen for the primary outcome (STI) at 6 weeks or 12 weeks. Similarly, no significant group differences were observed on secondary outcomes, with the exception of self-reported hand function. A secondary Complier-Averaged-CausalEffects (CACE) analysis showed no statistically significant treatment effect on the primary outcome. Sensory relearning for tactile sensory and functional deficits after carpal tunnel decompression is not effective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-956
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery (European Volume)
Issue number9
Early online date8 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

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