Patients who undergo surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome can regain their typing speed relatively quickly afterward—within about 2 to 3 weeks, according to a recent study.

The study was borne when a psychologist who studies the automatic response patterns involved in typing broke his shoulder in a household accident.

“I had to have my shoulder replaced,” says Gordon Logan, Centennial Professor of Psychology at Vanderbilt University, in a media release. “So I saw my orthopedic surgeon, Donald Lee, many times in the next few months.”

During Logan’s meetings with Lee, a professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and an expert in hand and shoulder surgery, their conversations often turned to research.

“He was focused on practical questions and wondered why anyone would ask the abstract theoretical questions that I do,” Logan continues. “I managed to convince him that typing was an important practical problem.”

Logan and Lee then designed an experiment to determine how quickly patients retained their typing speed after undergoing carpal tunnel release surgery.

The study, performed by Vanderbilt University Medical Center orthopedic resident Justin Zumsteg (now at the Orlando Health Orthopedic Institute in Florida) and Logan’s former post-doctoral student Matthew Crump (now at the City University of New York), is published in The Journal of Hand Surgery.

“We found that people recovered their pre-operative typing speed two to three weeks after surgery,” Logan explains in the release. “This provides a benchmark for recovery that prospective patients can consider in deciding whether to have surgery or when to have it.”

“Since we found that patients regain their typing ability relatively quickly, we now allow them to go back to typing relatively early,” Lee says. “They may not be able to type for several hours at a time, but we don’t necessarily restrict them from typing around two to three weeks post op.”

[Source(s): Vanderbilt University, Science Daily]