Fifteen RCTs with 1,512 participants (1,688 hands) were included. Seven RCTs with 2 or more points were rated as high methodological quality and eight RCTs with less than 2 points were rated as low quality. Six RCTs reported using adequate randomisation methods. No RCTs were reported to be double-blind, and only four RCTs reported drop-outs and withdrawals. The length of follow-up ranged from six to 70 weeks.
Ten RCTs indicated that minimally invasive carpal tunnel surgery offered a significantly earlier return to work while five RCTs found no significant differences between groups.
Only four RCTs could be combined in the meta-analysis. These results indicated that compared to open carpal tunnel release, minimally invasive surgery offered earlier return to work (mean difference 7.2 days, 95% CI -10 to -4.4 days; Ι²=6.6%).