Black Americans Undergo Carpal Tunnel Surgery Less Often Than Whites

Use of surgery increased in both groups from 2009 to 2020, but the gap between racial groups widened
Black Americans Undergo Carpal Tunnel Surgery Less Often Than Whites
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- African Americans undergo surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome at a lower rate than their White counterparts, according to a study published in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Rachel C. Hooper, M.D., from Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the timespan between diagnosis and surgical intervention for carpal tunnel syndrome among 361,942 African American and White patients on Medicaid using data from 2009 to 2020.

The researchers found that 21.4 and 13.6 percent of White and African American patients, respectively, chose surgery as their first and only treatment option. Compared with African American patients, more White patients underwent surgery less than six months after diagnosis (75.5 versus 67.7 percent). Compared with White women, African American women underwent surgery at a significantly lower rate (13.8 versus 21.8 percent). Increases in the rates of surgery were seen in both groups, but the gap in use of surgery between racial groups widened from 6.6 percent in 2009 to 9.5 percent in 2020.

"Identification of barriers to surgery, such as patient trust, physician race and gender discordance, patient economic and social burdens, and lack of understanding, is an identifiable target," the authors write.

One author disclosed receiving a research grant from Sonex.

Abstract/Full Text

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