Background: Carpal tunnel syndrome patients demonstrate diminished motion of the median nerve and fibrotic changes in the subsynovial connective tissue within the carpal tunnel. Currently, there are few prognostic factors to help predict the outcome of commonly performed treatments including surgical carpal tunnel release and corticosteroid injections. This study aimed to non-invasively assess the changes in the dynamic response of the subsynovial tissue relative to tendon motion after the intervention and to correlate this with disease severity. Methods: A total of 145 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome were recruited into this study. Clinical and demographic data, electrophysiological severity and dynamic ultrasound images were collected before and after treatment, either by injection or surgery. The relative motion of the subsynovial tissue with the underlying middle finger flexor digitorum superficialis tendon was measured using a speckle tracking algorithm and was expressed as a shear index (SI). Baseline and follow-up data, the association between change in SI and severity, and the role of treatment modality were analyzed and statistically compared. Findings: Overall, there was a significant increase (more relative motion) after treatment in the mean shear index from 79.9% (±15.4% SD) to 82.9% (±14.8% SD) (p = 0.03). Secondary analyses showed that this change was mostly present in those with mild disease severity undergoing surgery (p = 0.01). Interpretation: This study shows that the relative subsynovial tissue movement increases in patients after intervention. The present study lays a foundation for future studies to non-invasively assess the role of carpal tunnel dynamics in response to treatment.
- Carpal tunnel
- Speckle tracking
- Subsynovial connective tissue
- Ultrasound imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine