Background: The etiology of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) remains idiopathic in many cases. Noninflammatory fibrosis of the subsynovial connective tissue (SSCT) within the carpal tunnel is common in CTS, and some clinicians have hypothesized that this fibrosis might be a cause rather than an effect of CTS. An animal model in which to test this hypothesis would be useful. The principal objective of this study was to investigate the effect of a surgical injury on SSCT fibrosis and median nerve function within the carpal tunnel in an in vivo rabbit model. Methods: Rabbits were sacrificed 12 weeks after surgery and were evaluated by mechanical testing, histology, transmission and scanning electron microscopy, and electrophysiology. Results: SSCT fibroblast density (p<0.0001) and collagen fiber size (p=0.0004) were significantly higher, and the median nerve distal motor amplitude was significantly lower (p=0.0018), in the tendon injury group SSCT than in either the sham or control groups. Conclusions: Our findings are similar to those seen in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome and suggest that the tendon injury procedure may be the basis of a new animal model of SSCT injury and, possibly, CTS.
- Animal model
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Subsynovial connective tissue
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine