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Grip Strength Similar When Preserving Ulnar Bursa

Preserving rather than dividing ulnar bursa during carpal tunnel surgery also does not affect scar pain

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Preserving rather than dividing the ulnar bursa within the carpal tunnel during surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome does not affect grip strength or symptoms, researchers report in the November issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

D.P. Forward, M.R.C.S., and colleagues from University Hospital in Nottingham, U.K., randomized 118 patients undergoing open carpal tunnel decompression to either preservation of the parietal layer of the ulnar bursa beneath the flexor retinaculum or division of this gliding layer.

Eight to nine weeks after surgery, the researchers found that both procedures were similar in terms of improving grip strength, scar pain and symptoms. However, preserving the ulnar bursa significantly lowered the prevalence of suspected wound infection or inflammation.

"In this group of patients, preservation of the ulnar bursa around the median nerve during open carpal tunnel release produced no significant difference in grip strength or self-rated symptoms," Forward and colleagues conclude. "We recommend incision of the ulnar bursa during open carpal tunnel decompression to allow complete visualization of the median nerve and carpal tunnel contents."

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