Jung, et al., in Hand 2018, Vol. 13, pages 137-142, published a meta-analysis (comparison of data in the literature) on private, i.e. non-work-related, and worker’s compensation-treated patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. They found that worker’s compensation patients took almost five weeks longer to return to work and were 16% less likely to return to their pre-injury vocation and had lower SF36 scores. There were also 3x as many complications and nearly twice the rate of persistent pain. They opined that higher rates of postoperative pain with delayed return to work could be anticipated with treating worker’s compensation carpal tunnel patients.
It is interesting that these authors did not introduce any of their own experience with treating carpal tunnel syndrome patients, but they are highlighting a common problem. I have worked very hard over the past 30 years to make sure that my worker’s compensation patients’ outcomes parallel the private sector and almost all of my endoscopic carpal tunnel release patients are back to work within a couple of days of the operation. It goes to show that experience counts and, if we try hard enough to get great results, we should be able to attain them.