Purpose: To evaluate the patient-reported outcome measures of patients with primary cubital tunnel syndrome and to assess whether they are affected by preoperative symptom severity. Methods: Patients who underwent simple decompression for primary cubital tunnel syndrome were selected from a prospectively maintained database. Outcome measurements consisted of the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire at intake and at 3 and 6 months after surgery. Also, 6 months after surgery, the patients received a question about their satisfaction with the treatment result. To determine a possible influence of preoperative symptom severity on postoperative outcomes, the sample was divided into quartiles based on symptom severity at intake. Results: One hundred and forty-five patients were included in the final analysis. On average, all patients improved on the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire. The subgroup of patients with the mildest symptoms at intake did not improve significantly on symptom severity but did improve significantly on their functional status. In addition, the patients with the most severe symptoms at intake did improve on both aspects. Moreover, no difference in satisfaction with treatment result between the severity of symptoms at intake was found. Conclusions: The patients with the mildest symptoms at intake may not improve on symptom severity, but they do improve on functional status after simple decompression for cubital tunnel syndrome. In addition, patients with the most severe symptoms at intake do improve on both symptom severity and functional status. Moreover, all patients reported to be equally satisfied with the treatment result, which suggests that satisfaction is not dependent on the symptom severity at intake. Even those patients with both the mildest symptoms before surgery and the least improvement still seem to benefit from simple decompression. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank all patients for their participation. In addition, we acknowledge the members of the Hand-Wrist Study Group, caregivers and personnel of Xpert Clinic, Handtherapie Nederland, and Equipe Zorgbedrijven for assisting in the routine outcome measurements that are the basis for this article.
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