Objective: To determine the percentage of patients in whom carpal tunnel syndrome was induced by pregnancy, the presence of any risk factors causing persistent symptoms after delivery, and the outcome of surgical decompression in these patients.
Methods: We reviewed retrospectively the records of 100 consecutive women treated by carpal tunnel release in our unit from 1988-1991.
Results: Seven patients had the onset of hand symptoms during pregnancy. One patient was diabetic and worked as a machine operator, but none of the others had predisposing factors that could have led to persistent postpartum symptoms. The hand symptoms persisting after delivery initially required conservative treatment only. However, 2-16 years later, symptoms became severe enough to warrant surgical release of the carpal tunnel. All patients had resolution of symptoms after surgery.
Conclusion: Some patients with mild residual hand symptoms due to carpal tunnel syndrome may initially respond to conservative treatment, but 2-16 years later, symptoms may become severe enough to warrant surgical release. We recommend long-term follow-up of patients with residual postpartum hand symptoms.
© 1994 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists