Review article (meta-analysis)| Volume 99, ISSUE 4, P766-775, April 2018

Ultrasound-Guided Versus Landmark-Guided Local Corticosteroid Injection for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Published:September 21, 2017DOI:



      To review the literature and assess the comparative effectiveness of ultrasound-guided versus landmark-guided local corticosteroid injections in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

      Data Sources

      Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE (PubMed), Embase (Ovid), and Web of Science (from inception to February 1, 2017).

      Study Selection

      Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing ultrasound-guided injection with landmark-guided injection in patients with CTS were included.

      Data Extraction

      Two authors independently screened abstracts and full texts. The outcomes of interest were Symptom Severity Scale (SSS) and Functional Status Scale (FSS) scores of the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire and 4 electrodiagnostic parameters, including compound muscle action potential (CMAP), sensory nerve action potential (SNAP), distal motor latency (DML), and distal sensory latency (DSL).

      Data Synthesis

      Overall, 569 abstracts were retrieved and checked for eligibility; finally, 3 RCTs were included (181 injected hands). Pooled analysis showed that ultrasound-guided injection was more effective in SSS improvement (mean difference [MD], −.46; 95% confidence interval [CI], −.59 to −.32; P<.00001), whereas no significant difference was observed between the 2 methods in terms of the FSS (MD, −.25; 95% CI, −.56 to .05; P=.10). There were also no statistically significant differences in improvements of CMAP (MD, 1.54; 95% CI, 0.01 to 3.07; P=.05), SNAP (MD, −0.02; 95% CI, −6.27 to 6.23; P>.99), DML (MD, .05; 95% CI, −.30 to .39; P=.80), or DSL (MD, .00; 95% CI, −.65 to .65; P>.99).


      This review suggested that ultrasound-guided injection was more effective than landmark-guided injection in symptom severity improvement in patients with CTS; however, no significant differences were observed in functional status or electrodiagnostic improvements between the 2 methods.


      List of abbreviations:

      BCTQ (Boston Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Questionnaire), CI (confidence interval), CMAP (compound muscle action potential), CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome), DML (distal motor latency), DSL (distal sensory latency), FSS (Functional Status Scale), MD (mean difference), RCT (randomized controlled trial), SNAP (sensory nerve action potential), SSS (Symptom Severity Scale)
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