Purpose: There is no consensus regarding the prognostic value of preoperative symptom severity and duration for determining the anticipated results of carpal tunnel release. Some studies show a detrimental influence of symptom duration and severity on outcomes; others have found no effect. To study these contradictions, a database was created at 2 separate hand centers to explore the extent to which the duration and severity of symptoms before surgery are predictive of surgical outcome. Methods: At 2 hand centers 523 hands from the United States and United Kingdom completed surgery and follow-up evaluation. Symptoms, time of onset, duration, prior treatment, and medical history were recorded. Each patient had a physical examination and completed the Levine-Katz questionnaire. Results: Symptom duration, corrected for gender, was not associated with Levine-Katz symptom severity, Levine-Katz functional status, or changes in these scores from the pretreatment to 6-month follow-up evaluations. Conclusions: Preoperative symptom duration does not affect the surgery outcome as determined by the Levine-Katz symptom severity or functional status scores. The more severe the symptoms as determined by patient self-assessment, the greater the amount of change in the Levine-Katz symptom severity and functional status scores, although at 6 months after surgery the scores were still higher than those of patients with milder cases. Type of study/level of evidence: Prognostic I.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- symptom duration
- symptom severity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine