We have performed a prospective randomized controlled trial to compare the results of open carpal tunnel release with those of carpal tunnel release using a Knifelight® (Stryker, Kalamazoo, MI). This is a new knife with its own battery-powered light source which enables the operation to be performed through a small incision in the palm of the hand. There were 43 patients in the open operation group and 39 in the Knifelight group. We found no difference in discomfort reported during surgery, in the operative time, in the grip strength measured at 2 and 6 weeks post-operatively or in the proportion of patients cured of their pre-operative symptoms. Patients in the Knifelight group had a statistically significant improvement in the time to return to work and in scar tenderness at 6 weeks post-operatively.
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