Pre-operative electrodiagnostic testing predicts time to resolution of symptoms after carpal tunnel release

J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2016 Feb;41(2):137-42. doi: 10.1177/1753193415576248. Epub 2015 Mar 14.


The purpose of this study was to determine if nerve conduction studies predict time to resolution of symptoms after carpal tunnel release. A total of 56 patients undergoing open carpal tunnel release were prospectively enrolled. Pre-operative presence of nocturnal symptoms and daytime numbness/tingling were documented. Pre-operative nerve conduction studies were reviewed and classified as mild, moderate, or severe. After open carpal tunnel release, patients were contacted by phone within 48 hours, at 1 week, and then at 2-week intervals for up to 9 months or until both nocturnal and daytime symptoms had resolved. This study found that patients with mild or moderate carpal tunnel syndrome experience a faster time to resolution of daytime numbness and tingling when compared with patients with severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Nocturnal symptoms resolved quickly in both groups. The results of this study are in contrast to previous studies that found little to no value of nerve conduction studies in predicting post-operative functional and subjective outcomes.

Level of evidence: IV.

Keywords: Carpal tunnel syndrome; electrodiagnostic testing; nerve conduction testing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / surgery*
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Electrodiagnosis / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction / physiology*
  • Neurologic Examination / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Preoperative Care*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome