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Treatment of Radial Tunnel Syndrome with Radial Tunnel Release via an Anterior Approach
Rohan Ashok Habbu, MS, MBBS; University of Minnesota; Loree Kalliainen, MD;
Regions Hospital


Surgical treatment for radial tunnel syndrome has been shown to achieve good results following failure of nonoperative management. The objective of the present study was to assess the outcomes following surgical release of radial tunnel via an anterior approach.


Between 2005 to 2010, 13 patients (one bilateral) with a mean age of 44 (range, 28 to 60) years had a radial tunnel release via the anterior approach. These patients were followed up for mean 31 (range, 9 to 72) months. Medical records were evaluated for preoperative and intraoperative details. A followup survey comprising of DASH and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) scores was sent out to the patients. For patients who did not respond, followup scores were completed from their last clinic visit. All 13 patients (14 arms) had failed nonoperative treatment prior to surgery.


12 of the 13 patients (13 of the 14 arms) had an improvement in symptoms. These 12 patients were satisfied with their results. VAS scores improved from mean 7.9 to mean 1.6.The DASH scores improved from 64.1to 17.8. One patient had persistent pain despite surgery. His DASH score remained unchanged. His return to work was prolonged (90 days). Rest of patients returned to work at mean 20 days (range, 14 to 30) from surgery. All but the previous patient discontinued antiinflammatory or narcotic pain medications within two weeks. No complications were noted. Four patients showed scar hypertrophy which resolved with scar therapy.


Radial tunnel release via an anterior approach achieves good results in treatment of radial tunnel symptoms. Patients have an early return to work. Scar hypertrophy may be a cosmetic issue following this surgery.

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