The study, published in the February 2005 issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism, followed 163 wrists belonging to more than 100 patients who had experienced CTS symptoms for at least three months, particularly extreme nighttime tingling and burning in their hands and fingers sufficient to disrupt sleep. Eighty of the wrists received the standard surgical procedure of decompression of the median nerve, while the remaining 83 wrists received local steroid injections. After 14 days, 69 of the previously injected wrists were injected again. Duration, severity and patient age were similar among both the surgery and steroid injection groups.
Symptoms of both groups were evaluated for improvement at three months, six months and 12 months:
"Our findings suggest that both local steroid injections and surgical decompression are highly effective in alleviating the symptoms of primary CTS at 12 months of follow-up. Nevertheless, local injection seems superior to surgery in the short term," reported Dr. Domingo Ly-Pen, one of the studyâ€™s authors.
Both surgery and steroid injections are considered medical management for CTS.