Socioeconomic Status Affects Pre- and Postoperative Two-point Discrimination in Patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Gautham Prabhakar, Abdullah Ghali, David Momtaz, Ryan Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Carpal tunnel release is a life-changing procedure within hand surgery. Multiple factors may have an impact on the outcome following surgery. Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we reviewed all patients who underwent carpal tunnel release in our institutional database from 2018 to 2020. We included patients with a minimum of 6-week follow-up. Patient demographics were identified, including insurance status and comorbidities. Patients were categorized as "improved" or "not improved" based on two-point test differences. Results were analyzed using the Fisher exact test. We ran a logistic regression model to analyze the relationship between income status (operationalized by having Medicaid/Carelink) and preoperative scores, and inferential statistics were computed with appropriate t tests. Results: Of the 125 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 47 (37.6%) had Medicaid or Carelink, and 79 (62.4%) had commercial insurance. Medicaid/ Carelink patients presented with worse two-point discrimination on initial presentation (P < 0.001). Compared to commercial insurance, Medicaid/Carelink patients were less likely to show improvement in postoperative two-point discrimination (P < 0.001). Male patients were also less likely to show improvement. Race, ethnicity, medical comorbidities, and age were not shown to have a significant effect on improvement in two-point discrimination. Conclusions: Although medical comorbidities did not have a significant effect on postoperative two-point, patients with low-income status (Medicaid/Carelink) may have a less predictable outcome. These socioeconomic considerations are critical in appropriately risk stratifying surgical candidates, and counseling patients in whom tactile acuity may be less predictable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E4389
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open
Volume10
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 8 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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