Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ


I'm going to have surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. Is there any way to tell what the outcome will be before the surgery?


Severity of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be difficult to assess before surgery. Sometimes patients have minor symptoms with severe nerve compression. Other times patients report severe symptoms with minor compression.

Tests used by doctors to make the diagnosis include Phalen's test, Tinel's sign, carpal-compression test, and several others. Only Phalen's test (prolonged wrist flexion) can link the severity of the condition with the symptoms.

Studies show that the results of nerve conduction tests before surgery may be a good way to tell the final outcome. Evidently certain values can forecast or predict improvement in symptoms and functional use of the hand. If you haven't had these tests done, you may want to ask the surgeon about them.

Zong-Ming Li, PhD, et al. Thumb Strength Affected by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. December 2005. No. 441. Pp. 320-326.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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