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Carpal tunnel syndrome patients prefer to share decision-making with their physicians
Date:8/8/2011

Rosemont, Ill. Patients receiving treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) prefer to play a more collaborative role when it comes to making decisions about their medical or surgical care, according to the findings of an August 3rd issue of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery (JBJS).

"While other studies have shown patients with potentially life-threatening conditions such as cancer tend to prefer a more passive role when it comes to decision-making, this study demonstrates that in carpal tunnel syndrome, which raises issues of quality of life rather than those related to a life-threatening condition, the majority of patients preferred to share decision making with their physicians," said study author and orthopaedic surgeon Hyun Sik Gong, MD, PhD.

Study Details and Findings

In this study, 78 patients who underwent carpal tunnel release for CTS were requested to indicate their preferred level of involvement preoperatively and to assess their actual levels of involvement postoperatively, using a scale containing five levels ranging from fully active to fully passive.

According to the study results, patients were more likely to assume an active role in the decision-making process if they:

  • had undergone one or more previous surgical procedures;
  • had a caregiver; or
  • had additional private insurance to help defray treatment costs.

"It is likely that the experience of a previous operation clarified uncertainties or conflicts regarding surgery, and that the presence of a caregiver allowed patients greater freedom during decision-making," Dr. Gong noted.

Dr. Gong said that previous studies have described three primary approaches to medical decision-making:

  • The paternalistic model, in which physicians make decisions on the basis of what they believe to be in the patients' best interest, and minimal information is conveyed from the physician to the patient; '/>"/>

Contact: Lauren Pearson
pearson@aaos.org
847-384-4031
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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