Do Patients Want to be Involved in Their Carpal Tunnel Surgery Decisions? A Multicenter Study

Allison K. Roe, Sara L. Eppler, Sanjeev Kakar, Edward Akelman, Christopher J. Got, Philip E. Blazar, David S. Ruch, Marc J. Richard, Jeffrey Yao, Robin N. Kamal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Carpal tunnel syndrome requires multiple decisions during its management, including regarding preoperative studies, surgical technique, and postoperative wound management. Whether patients have varying preferences for the degree to which they share in decisions during different phases of care has not been explored. The goal of our study was to evaluate the degree to which patients want to be involved along the care pathway in the management of carpal tunnel syndrome. Methods: We performed a prospective, multicenter study of patients undergoing carpal tunnel surgery at 5 academic medical centers. Patients received a 27-item questionnaire to rate their preferred level of involvement for decisions made during 3 phases of care for carpal tunnel surgery: preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative. Preferences for participation were quantified using the Control Preferences Scale. These questions were scored on a scale of 0 to 4, with patient-only decisions scoring 0, semiactive decisions scoring 1, equally collaborative decisions scoring 2, semipassive decisions scoring 3, and physician-only decisions scoring 4. Descriptive statistics were calculated. Results: Seventy-one patients completed the survey between November 2018 and April 2019. Overall, patients preferred semipassive decisions in all phases of care (median score, 3). Patients preferred equally collaborative decisions for preoperative decisions (median score, 2). Patients preferred a semipassive decision-making role for intraoperative and postoperative decisions (median score, 3), suggesting these did not need to be equally shared. Conclusions: Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome prefer varying degrees of involvement in the decision-making process of their care and prefer a semipassive role in intraoperative and postoperative decisions. Clinical relevance: Strategies to engage patients to varying degrees for all decisions during the management of carpal tunnel syndrome, such as decision aids for preoperative surgical decisions and educational handouts for intraoperative decisions, may facilitate aligning decisions with patient preferences for shared decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Carpal tunnel release
  • patient involvement
  • shared decision-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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