Incidence of clinically diagnosed and surgically treated carpal tunnel syndrome in Korea

Young Hak Roh, Moon Sang Chung, Goo Hyun Baek, Young Ho Lee, Seung Hwan Rhee, Hyun Sik Gong

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28 Scopus citations


Purpose Most epidemiologic studies on carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) have been performed on specific regional or occupational groups, or on general populations in the West. The authors undertook to determine the incidence of clinically diagnosed and surgically treated CTS in the Korean general population. Methods A retrospective, nationwide cohort study was performed using data collected from 2005 to 2007 (inclusive) by the Korean Health Insurance Review Agency, which covers 97% of the population. We analyzed the incidence of clinically diagnosed, electrophysiologically diagnosed, and surgically treated CTS in patients aged over 20 years, and the influences of gender and age on incidence. Results The incidence of total clinically diagnosed CTS and electrophysiologically diagnosed CTS in patients over 20 years of age was 4.96 and 0.98 per 1,000 person-years, respectively. The incidence of surgically treated CTS was 0.29 per 1,000 person-years. The age-adjusted female to male incidence ratio of diagnosed CTS was 2.58 (95% confidence interval, 2.562.59) and that of surgically treated CTS was 5.82 (95% CI, 5.646.00). Women aged 50 to 59 years had the highest incidence of CTS (18.11 per 1,000 person-years), whereas men showed a slow increase in incidence with age, highest at 60 to 69 years. Conclusions Compared with Western studies, our study of the Korean population shows a similar incidence of CTS but a lower incidence of surgery. Korean women with CTS are more likely to be treated surgically than men. Further studies may be warranted to identify ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic factors that influence surgical treatment rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1410-1417
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • epidemiology
  • incidence
  • Korean


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