Demographic Disparities amongst Patients Receiving Carpal Tunnel Release: A Retrospective Review of 92,921 Patients

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Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2021 Nov 24;9(11):e3959. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000003959. eCollection 2021 Nov.


Despite strong evidence supporting the efficacy of surgical release for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), previous studies have suggested that surgery is not performed equally amongst races and sex. The purpose of this study was to investigate potential socioeconomic disparities in the surgical treatment for CTS.

METHODS: Adult patients (≥18) were identified in the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System database from 2011 to 2018 by diagnosis code for CTS. All carpal tunnel surgery procedures in the outpatient setting were identified using Current Procedural Terminology codes. Using a unique identifier for each patient, the diagnosis data were linked to procedure data. A multivariable logistic regression was performed to assess the impact of patient factors on the likelihood of receiving surgery.

RESULTS: In total, 92,921 patients with CTS were included in the analysis and 30,043 (32.3%) went on to have surgery. Older age and workers compensation insurance had increased the odds of surgery. Feminine gender had lower odds of surgery. Asian, African American, and other races had decreased odds of surgery relative to the White race. Patients of Hispanic ethnicity had decreased odds of surgery compared with non-Hispanic ethnicity. Patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or self-pay insurance were all less likely to undergo surgery relative to private insurance. Higher social deprivation was also associated with decreased odds of surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgical treatment of CTS is unequally distributed amongst gender, race, and socioeconomic status. Additional research is necessary to identify the cause of these disparities to improve equity in patient care.

PMID:34840923 | PMC:PMC8613363 | DOI:10.1097/GOX.0000000000003959