Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Wrist FAQ


Is there any way to tell if surgery will help with carpal tunnel syndrome?


There’s no quick and easy answer to this for each patient. However, there are some factors that can help with this decision. For example, studies show that patients on worker’s compensation have the worst results of all patients. Age and sex don’t seem to make any difference. A positive nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test points to a good result for workers and for patients with diabetes. NCV measures the speed of nerve messages. In general, patients with diabetes are less likely to be helped by the surgery compared with patients who don’t have diabetes. Some doctors suggest using a steroid injection into the carpal tunnel area as a test. Steroids can reduce swelling and relieve symptoms completely. If the pain, numbness, and tingling return after a steroid injection, surgery is advised. A study at the University of Louisville (Kentucky) showed that relief from steroid injection is the best way to predict good results from surgery. Stephen E. Edgell, PhD, et al. Predicting the Outcome of Carpal Tunnel Release. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. March 2003. Vol. 28A. No. 2. Pp. 255-261.

*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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