J Hand Microsurg 2012; 04(01): 1-6
DOI: 10.1007/s12593-011-0051-x
Original Article
Thieme Medical and Scientific Publishers Private Ltd.

Recurrent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome—Analysis of the Impact of Patient Personality in Altering Functional Outcome Following a Vascularised Hypothenar Fat Pad Flap Surgery

K. Karthik
1   Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, London, SE184QH, UK   Email: karthi97@gmail.com
Rajesh Nanda
2   North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, Hardwick Rd., Stockton on Tees, TS19 8PE, UK
John Stothard
3   James Cook University Hospital, Marton Road, Middlesbrough, TS43BW, UK
› Author Affiliations

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

12 June 2011

03 August 2011

Publication Date:
05 September 2016 (online)


We retrospectively analysed 25 patients (27 hands) who had both clinical and electrophysiological confirmation of true recurrent carpal tunnel syndrome from January 2004 to December 2009. In all the patients, after releasing the nerve a vascularised fat pad flap was mobilised from the hypothenar region and sutured to the lateral cut end of flexor retinaculum. The patient characteristics, co-morbidities, duration of symptom, interval between first release and revision surgery and intra-operative findings were assessed against post-operative relief of pain, recovery of sensory and motor dysfunction. The average age of the patients was 58 years (43–81) and the dominant hand was involved in 22 patients. Intra-operatively the nerve was compressed by scar tissue connecting the previously divided ends of the retinaculum in 18 and nine had scar tissue and fibrosis around the nerve. Following surgery 16 patients had complete recovery (asymptomatic at the first follow-up), eight had delayed recovery (partial recovery of symptoms at final follow-up) and three had a poorer outcome (persistence of preoperative symptoms at the final follow-up). The patients with delayed recovery/poorer outcome had a) Early recurrence; b) Diabetes mellitus; c) Obesity; d) Cervical spine problems; e) Involvement of non-dominant hand; and f) Intraoperative scar tissue and fibrosis. The hypothenar fat pad transposition flap provides a reliable source of vascularised local tissue that can be used in patients with recurrent carpal tunnel syndrome. The factors that were associated with poorer/delayed recovery were involvement of non-dominant hand, recurrence within a year from the previous surgery, intra-operatively scar tissue in the carpal tunnel and associated co-morbidities, like obesity diabetes mellitus and cervical spine problems.

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