PurposeThis study aimed to investigate the outcomes of a mini-transverse incision with a bush-hook versus a conventional open incision for carpal tunnel release (CTR).MethodsThis was a prospective study. The decision to receive either technique (mini-transverse incision with a bush-hook or conventional open incision) was primarily based on patients’ choice. Patients’ symptom severity, functional status, and symptomatic pain were measured at pre-operation, 1 month, and 3 and 6 months postoperatively, and any relevant complications were recorded. Kelly’s scale was used to evaluate the overall clinical efficacy.ResultsEighty-nine patients were included in the open CTR group and 85 patients in the mini-transverse incision group. The mini-transverse incision group had a significantly smaller incision (4.4±0.6 vs 44.8±3.7 mm), shorter surgical time (7.8±1.9 vs 21.2±3.4 min), and shorter hospital stay (3.7±1.6 vs 5.9±2.0 days) than did the open CTR group. Both groups showed significant improvements from baseline levels (all P<0.001). At postoperative 1 month and 3 months, the transverse incision group showed a significantly better VAS, SSS, and FSS (all P<0.05), but the difference was non-significant at 6 months except for FSS (P=0.022). Also, mini-transverse incision showed a significantly reduced time to return to work and activities, trend to a higher rate of excellence, and good and fewer complications than did the open CTR.ConclusionsThe mini-transverse incision exhibited better performance in surgery-related measures, symptomatic remission, functional recovery, and postoperative morbidity, thus could be considered a promising technique alternative.