Do nerve conduction studies predict the outcome of carpal tunnel decompression?

Muscle Nerve. 2001 Jul;24(7):935-40. doi: 10.1002/mus.1091.


Patients (n = 3336) who had been tested for suspected carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) were contacted by postal questionnaire and their opinions sought of the overall subjective outcome of any treatments using a five-point rating scale. Operative results were compared with preoperative nerve conduction, clinical and demographic variables, and a multiple logistic regression analysis used to identify significant prognostic factors. Among 1268 surgical procedures that were identified, the overall surgical success rate was 69%. Preoperative nerve conduction study findings, greater age, lower symptom scores, longer disease duration, and male gender were significant predictors of poor outcome. Nerve conduction studies had the strongest effect, with patients with middle-grade abnormalities having better results than those with either very severe or no abnormality. Surgical carpal tunnel decompression has a significant failure rate. The preoperative nerve conduction studies account for a proportion of the total variation in outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / surgery*
  • Decompression, Surgical*
  • Electromyography*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome