Long-term symptom outcomes of carpal tunnel syndrome and its treatment

J Hand Surg Am. 1997 Mar;22(2):200-10. doi: 10.1016/S0363-5023(97)80152-9.


A retrospective follow-up study of a population-based case series was conducted to determine the clinical course and outcomes of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). A total of 425 cases first diagnosed between 1979 and 1988 were followed through 1993. Among patients who did not have surgery, median duration of symptoms was between 6 and 9 months, but 22% had symptoms for 8 years or longer. Patients who had surgery were about 6 times more likely to have resolution of their symptoms than were patients who did not have surgery. Patients who had surgery 3 or more years after their initial diagnosis of CTS were less than half as likely to have symptom resolution than were patients who had surgery within 3 years of diagnosis. The results indicate that surgery is a highly effective treatment, but duration of CTS prior to surgery is a key determinant of surgical outcome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / surgery*
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Population Surveillance
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Splints
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal