J Wrist Surg 2021; 10(03): 196-200
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1721437
Scientific Article

Palmar Musculature: Does It Affect the Development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? A Pilot Study

Trevor Simcox
1   Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Radiology, School of Medicine, New York University, New York
,
Lauren Seo
1   Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Radiology, School of Medicine, New York University, New York
,
Kevin Dunham
1   Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Radiology, School of Medicine, New York University, New York
,
Shengnan Huang
1   Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Radiology, School of Medicine, New York University, New York
,
Catherine Petchprapa
1   Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Radiology, School of Medicine, New York University, New York
,
1   Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Radiology, School of Medicine, New York University, New York
› Author Affiliations

Abstract

Background The etiology of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is multifactorial. Static mechanical characteristics of CTS have been described, but dynamic (muscular) parameters remain obscure. We believe that musculature overlying the transverse carpal ligament may have an effect on carpal tunnel pressure and may explain the prevalence of CTS in manual workers.

Questions/Purposes To utilize magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) imaging to estimate the amount of muscle crossing the area of the carpal tunnel and to compare these MRI measurements in patients with and without documented CTS.

Methods A case–control study of wrist MRI scans between January 1, 2018, and December 1, 2019, was performed. Patients with a diagnosis of CTS were matched by age and gender with controls without a diagnosis of CTS. Axial MRI cuts at the level of the hook of the hamate were used to measure the thenar and hypothenar muscle depth overlying the carpal tunnel. Muscle depth was quantified in millimeters at three points: midcapitate, capitate–hamate border, capitate–trapezoid border. Average depth was calculated by dividing the cross-sectional area (CSA) by the transverse carpal ligament width. Statistical analysis included Student's t-test, chi-square test, and Pearson's correlation coefficient calculation.

Results A total of 21 cases and 21 controls met the inclusion criteria for the study. There were no significant differences in demographics between case and control groups. The location and depth of the musculature crossing the carpal tunnel were highly variable in all areas evaluated. A significantly positive correlation was found between proximal median nerve CSA and muscle depth in the capitate–hamate area (correlation coefficient = 0.375; p = 0.014). CSA was not significantly associated with chart documented CTS.

Conclusions We found large variability in our measurements. This likely reflects true anatomical variation. The significance of our findings depends on the location of the muscles and the line of pull and their effect on the mechanics of the transverse carpal ligament. Future research will focus on refining measurement methodology and understanding the mechanical effect of the muscular structure and insertions on carpal tunnel pressure.

Level of Evidence This is a Level 3, case–control study.



Publication History

Received: 03 July 2020

Accepted: 28 October 2020

Article published online:
03 January 2021

© 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved.

Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.
333 Seventh Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10001, USA