The effect of age and gender on the improvement of the strength and function of the hand of patients following surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome

Andrzej Żyluk, Paulina Żyluk-Gadowska, Filip Fliciński


Introduction: Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common compressive neuropathy in the upper limb. Morbidity is approx. 4 times higher in women than in men. Clinical observations suggest that the sex and age of patients influence a preoperative reduction of grip and pinch strengths as well the range of improvement in these variables postoperatively. The objective of the study was to investigate this issue.

Materials and methods: The study group consisted of 1,117 patients, 909 women (81%) and 208 men (19%) at a mean age of 63 years. Each patient had been tested for total grip strength, pinch strength and completed the functional part of the Levine questionnaire which evaluates the severity of dysfunction caused by the disease.

Results: Preoperatively, men had almost a double-fold total grip and pinch strength compared to women, whereas women had greater, but clinically irrelevant, hand dysfunction. The total grip and pinch strengths were statistically and clinically significantly lower in patients >80 years old. Postoperative improvement of the power and function of the hand was similar in women and men. Patients in different age groups achieved similar improvement of the power and function of the hand postoperatively, except in the oldest group (>80 years old) in which the improvement was smallest.

Conclusion: In the course of carpal tunnel syndrome, reduction of the power and function of the hand are similar in women and in men, as well as in different age ranges, except for the oldest patients in which dysfunction is the greatest. Surgery results in similar improvement of power and function of the hand in both sexes and in different age groups, except for the oldest patients, who show the least improvement.


carpal tunnel syndrome; sex and age; outcome measure

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