After carpal tunnel release, you should expect to be in a splint for 2-4 weeks. This splint will allow for finger motion but it limits your wrist movements. You will also be limited to the amount of weight you should lift for 6-8 weeks. Under normal circumstances, physical therapy is not needed following carpal tunnel release.
The success of your procedure will vary with your individual situation. 85 out of 100 patients undergoing carpal tunnel release experience good to excellent results. Successful results include a substantial relief from pain, especially at night, and improvement in hand function.
Factors that affect the success of the procedure include: how long you have had the pain, the amount of muscle loss and the extent of damage done to the median nerve. In general, the longer the time with symptoms, the less predictable the results of the surgery will be. Prolonged pressure on the median nerve does cause permanent damage. In this case, even with a carpal tunnel release, your symptoms may only improve minimally. However, the surgery will prevent further damage to the nerve.
Long term, the benefits do appear to last in most patients, although muscle loss may not ever be completely restored. Night pain is the most commonly relieved symptom after the carpal tunnel release procedure.
Because individual situations can vary, if you have any questions about your expected results, you and your doctor can discuss your particular situation. It is important that your expectations match your doctor's expectations.