Carpal Tunnel Home > Carpal Tunnel Surgery Expectations

It's a good idea to have a basic understanding of carpal tunnel surgery expectations before undergoing your surgery. The success of carpal tunnel surgery will vary depending on factors such as how long you have had the pain, as well as the extent of damage done to the median nerve. Most patients undergoing the procedure experience positive results, including substantial pain relief and improvement in hand function.

An Overview of Carpal Tunnel Surgery Expectations

After carpal tunnel release, you should expect to be in a splint for two to four weeks. This splint will allow for finger motion, but it limits your wrist movements. You will also be limited in the amount of weight you should lift for six to eight weeks. Under normal circumstances, physical therapy is not needed following carpal tunnel release.
The success of your procedure will vary with your individual situation. About 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 carpal tunnel surgery include:
  • How long you have had the pain
  • The amount of muscle lost
  • 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.

In the 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.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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