A 6-year outcome of patients who cancelled carpal tunnel surgery

R. A. Pensy, F. D. Burke, M. J. Bradley, N. H. Dubin, E. F.S. Wilgis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The long-term outcomes of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome who were scheduled for release but did not proceed to surgery were compared to patients who underwent surgery, matched on preoperative symptom scores. Both groups completed the Levine-Katz questionnaire 6 years after enrolment to our multicentre carpal tunnel syndrome outcomes database. Symptom and function scores improved for the surgical (n=24) and non-surgical (n=36) groups (p<0.001). Improvement in symptom scores was greater in surgical patients compared to non-surgical patients (n=24 matched pairs; p=0.007) but improvement in function scores between groups was not significantly different (p = 0.13). For surgical patients, function and symptom scores improved by 6 months and were unchanged at 6 years. Patients planning surgical release can expect symptomatic and functional benefits within 6 months. Overall improvement was experienced by both groups, with a superior outcome achieved with surgery. The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may improve without surgery, but further studies are needed to understand the natural history of the disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-647
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery: European Volume
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Carpal tunnel release
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Functional outcome
  • Self-assessment
  • Symptom severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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