Treatment and Prognosis

Treatment falls into two categories:


  • A volar splint, placed in a neutral position, has been shown to result in a statistically significant decrease in symptoms compared with controls. Initial success rate is up to 70% but this falls over two to three years to 12-30%
  • Studies for two weeks of ultrasound treatment showed no benefit
  • There is no data demonstrating the superiority of NSAIDs over placebo
  • Corticosteroid injections are beneficial for one month, but their benefit beyond one month is unclear
  • Diuretics have not been show to be beneficial


Definitive therapy consists of surgical release of the transverse carpal ligament.

Surgery relieves symptoms significantly better than splints.

A Cochrane review found that endoscopic surgery results in more transient nerve problems, while open surgery has more wound problems.

Surgery for CTS has a long-term success rate >75%.

The prognosis for this condition following treatment is outlined below:


Prognosis is excellent with definitive therapy.

During pregnancy, CTS has a more benign course with fewer cases requiring surgical treatment.

Risk factors for poorer than average prognosis include the following:

  • Advanced disease
  • Atypical symptoms (normal nerve conduction studies, symptoms in fifth digit)
  • Longer symptom duration
  • Older age
  • Coexisting disease (diabetes, other peripheral neuropathy)
  • Heavy manual occupation

Despite treatment, some patients may have residual fingertip numbness.