Some patients present with typical clinical features of carpal tunnel syndrome despite normal nerve conduction studies. This study compared the preoperative and 1-year postoperative QuickDASH scores in patients with normal and abnormal nerve conduction studies, who underwent carpal tunnel decompression. Of the 637 patients included in the study, 19 had clinical features of carpal tunnel syndrome but normal nerve conduction studies, and underwent decompression after failure of conservative management. Preoperative QuickDASH scores were comparable in both groups (58 vs 54.8). However, there were significant differences between the normal and abnormal nerve conduction study groups in the QuickDASH at 1 year (34.9 vs 21.5) and change in QuickDASH postoperatively (23.1 vs 33.4). Patients with normal nerve conduction studies had comparable preoperative disability scores compared with those with abnormal studies. Although they had a significant improvement in QuickDASH at 1 year, this was significantly less than those with abnormal nerve conduction studies. Level of evidence: III.
Keywords: Nerve conduction studies; carpal tunnel decompression; carpal tunnel syndrome; hand and wrist.