Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Health Center

Font Size

A Light at the End of the Carpal Tunnel


"The surgery is a very minor procedure and the results are usually spectacular. If you don't get a good result from surgery, then the diagnosis may have been wrong, or else the patient waited too long, and nerve damage has already occurred," says Jeffrey Malka, MD, associate professor at Georgetown University and chairman of the department of orthopaedic surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va.

"But carpal tunnel is very variable and you can't lump all cases together," Malka says. "You have to take into account the specific patient and what the symptoms are. You want to do the least you can do to benefit the person in the best way." Malka reviewed the study for WebMD.

"Surgical treatment is superior to any other treatment, across the board. But if a person has only minimal symptoms, they may be able to avoid it, or at least delay surgery," says Gregory Hanker, MD. "If they have moderate to severe symptoms, the vast majority of people who get [conservative treatment] will worsen over time. Those people almost always need surgery." Hanker, who also reviewed the study for WebMD, is a hand surgeon and assistant clinical professor at the University of Southern California.

Hanker says the recurrence rate is low following surgery, but, most important, patients need to be educated about the nature of disease. "You want to educate them how to lessen stress on their hands. Basically, it's common sense. Avoid those things that hurt, do those things that don't."

This study was sponsored by the Navy's Chief Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

Vital Information:

  • The idea that carpal tunnel syndrome is a permanent disability that cannot be reversed may be a myth, according to a new study.
  • Most carpal tunnel patients who are treated are able to return to their jobs and resume a normal work capacity, even if modifications are necessary.
  • Those who undergo a surgical procedure are more likely to have their symptoms resolved compared to those who undergo other treatments, and the recurrence rate is low.
1 | 2

Today on WebMD

illustration of nerves in hand
Elderly patient undergoing water therapy
Nerve Pain Slideshow
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
neural fiber
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Woman opening window
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery