Key findings over the past 20 years include:

- 302,211 CTR operations were subsidised by Medicare Australia. 
- CTR was most common amongst ages 55 to 64 for females and 65 to 74 for males. 
- The yearly incidence of CTR has increased by 30 per cent over the past twenty years. 
- While females made the majority of claims (59.3 per cent), in 2020, the incidence for males has eclipsed females for the first time (108.2 vs 103.2 per 100,000 population). 
- The rate of CTR in males has nearly doubled over two decades (59.8 to 108.1 per 100,000 population).
- This increase is largely attributed to two age groups (75-84 (+180 per cent) and >=85 (+201 per cent)). 
- For females, the incidence has remained largely unchanged over the past twenty years, with a decline seen for some age groups (45-54 (-32 per cent) and 55-64 (-20 per cent)).    

Dr Arunan Jeyakumar, a Surgical Resident at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital said CRT is one of the most commonly performed hand surgeries. The procedure aims to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), a painful disorder of the hand caused by pressure on nerves that run through the wrist. Anything that aggravates and inflames the tendons can cause CTS, including repetitive hand movements, pregnancy and arthritis.

“It’s a growing problem, with CTR surgery rates increasing by 30 per cent every year for the past twenty years,” Dr Jeyakumar said.

“Historically, CTS has been associated with females – thought to be related to hormonal changes secondary to pregnancy and menopause - however, the research unexpectedly revealed a significant increase in the number of males requiring CRT surgery over the past 20 years,” Dr Jeyakumar said.

“Males are likely undertaking activities that require repeated movement of the wrist, which could include using a keyboard and mouse, machine work or sports related activities.

“With the percentage of males requiring CTR surgery trending up, it is important for the healthcare system to identify how they can allocate resources to meet the growing demand.

Dr Jeyakumar’s research will be unveiled at the the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress in Brisbane (2-6 May).

The Congress is the largest multi-disciplinary surgical meeting held in the southern hemisphere and brings together some of the top surgical and medical minds from across New Zealand, Australia, and the rest of the world.


For more information about the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Congress, please visit:

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