Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand News

Will You Return to Work After Carpal Tunnel Surgery?

Determining who will go back to work after carpal tunnel surgery is the focus of this study from France. Looking at factors that might predict why or why not patients return to work was a second area of interest. Studying patterns of return to work and factors associated with return to work might help surgeons counsel and advise patients who are planning to have carpal tunnel surgery.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common problem affecting the hand and wrist. Symptoms begin when the median nerve gets squeezed inside the carpal tunnel of the wrist. This creates a medical condition known as nerve entrapment or compressive neuropathy. Any condition that decreases the size of the carpal tunnel or enlarges the tissues inside the tunnel can produce the symptoms of CTS.

The study was conducted through mail surveys of patients who were working at the time of the carpal tunnel surgery. Demographic information was collected including age, sex (male or female), and presence of other health problems.

Number of years at the same job, worker's compensation status, and satisfaction/dissatisfaction with work were also recorded. They also looked at the time between surgery and return to work and whether or not work tasks were modified for the individual workers. Any work restrictions present after return to work were also noted.

By comparing demographics with return to work status, the authors were able to analyze the data for predictive or prognostic factors. All participants were adults between the ages of 20 and 59 years. It turns out there were quite a few factors that affected return to work status.

The various obstacles included other musculoskeletal disorders requiring surgery, unfavorable work environment, blue collar work status, and belief that the problem was work-related. Number of days before returning to work (referred to as duration of sick leave) were also linked with these risk factors plus one more: dissatisfaction with results of surgery.

Other studies have shown that workers employed in jobs requiring repetitive or intensive hand work and manual labor are most likely to have longer return to work times following carpal tunnel surgery. In fact, sick leave in industries with a high rate of carpal tunnel syndrome is rarely less than six months following surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.

The authors conclude there is a relationship between medical, surgical, and occupational factors and return to work status for workers with carpal tunnel syndrome. Predicting who will be able to return to work (and how soon) after carpal tunnel surgery is not simple or straightforward. With so many potential risk factors and most cases involving more than one factor, makes predicting return to work a challenge.

More research to find the "best" or most predictive factors are needed to complete the information gathered by this study. The role of sickness payment or workers compensation cannot be underestimated and deserves further investigation and study as well. Will You Return to Work After Carpal Tunnel Surgery?

Determining who will go back to work after carpal tunnel surgery is the focus of this study from France. Looking at factors that might predict why or why not patients return to work was a second area of interest. Studying patterns of return to work and factors associated with return to work might help surgeons counsel and advise patients who are planning to have carpal tunnel surgery.

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common problem affecting the hand and wrist. Symptoms begin when the median nerve gets squeezed inside the carpal tunnel of the wrist. This creates a medical condition known as nerve entrapment or compressive neuropathy. Any condition that decreases the size of the carpal tunnel or enlarges the tissues inside the tunnel can produce the symptoms of CTS.

The study was conducted through mail surveys of patients who were working at the time of the carpal tunnel surgery. Demographic information was collected including age, sex (male or female), and presence of other health problems.

Number of years at the same job, worker's compensation status, and satisfaction/dissatisfaction with work were also recorded. They also looked at the time between surgery and return to work and whether or not work tasks were modified for the individual workers. Any work restrictions present after return to work were also noted.

By comparing demographics with return to work status, the authors were able to analyze the data for predictive or prognostic factors. All participants were adults between the ages of 20 and 59 years. It turns out there were quite a few factors that affected return to work status.

The various obstacles included other musculoskeletal disorders requiring surgery, unfavorable work environment, blue collar work status, and belief that the problem was work-related. Number of days before returning to work (referred to as duration of sick leave) were also linked with these risk factors plus one more: dissatisfaction with results of surgery.

Other studies have shown that workers employed in jobs requiring repetitive or intensive hand work and manual labor are most likely to have longer return to work times following carpal tunnel surgery. In fact, sick leave in industries with a high rate of carpal tunnel syndrome is rarely less than six months following surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.

The authors conclude there is a relationship between medical, surgical, and occupational factors and return to work status for workers with carpal tunnel syndrome. Predicting who will be able to return to work (and how soon) after carpal tunnel surgery is not simple or straightforward. With so many potential risk factors and most cases involving more than one factor, makes predicting return to work a challenge.

More research to find the "best" or most predictive factors are needed to complete the information gathered by this study. The role of sickness payment or workers compensation cannot be underestimated and deserves further investigation and study as well.


Elsa Parot-Schinkel, MD, et al. Factors Affecting Return to Work After Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery in a Large French Cohort. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. November 2011. Vol. 92. No. 11. Pp. 1863-1869.

00/00/0000

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Our Specialties

Where Does It Hurt?

Our Locations

  Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter