Comparison of the Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire, Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire, and PROMIS Instruments in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Published:December 21, 2018DOI:


      Patient-reported outcomes are important to assess improvement after surgery. Common instruments for carpal tunnel syndrome include the Michigan Hand Outcomes Questionnaire (MHQ) and Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire (CTQ). The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) are newer measures. We evaluated how the PROMIS Pain Interference (PI) and Upper Extremity (UE) scores change after carpal tunnel release.


      All adult patients with carpal tunnel syndrome treated surgically were asked to participate in this prospective study. PROMIS instruments, MHQ, and CTQ were completed by 101 patients. Estimated means and standard errors were calculated, and piecewise linear fixed effects regression models were applied to the data. Standardized response means were calculated for each outcome measure.


      The MHQ Total Score did not show a considerable change from the preoperative to 1-week postoperative visit but improved from the 1-week to 3-month postoperative visit (55 to 80). The CTQ Functional Status Score (FSS) worsened from 2.3 preoperatively to 2.6 at the 1-week postoperative visit before improving through the 3-month postoperative visit (1.6). PROMIS UE showed responsiveness similar to the CTQ FSS with a decline at the 1-week visit, 38 to 33, followed by improvement (45 at 3 mo). However, the standardized response mean values were greater for the CTQ FSS compared with PROMIS UE. The average administration time was shortest for PROMIS UE. The CTQ Symptom Severity Scale and MHQ Pain Scores showed improvements as early as the 1-week visit. The CTQ Symptom Severity Scale improved from 3.1 to 2.3, and MHQ Pain Scores improved from 55 to 46. PROMIS PI did not change at the 1-week visit but improved at 6 weeks and 3 months, from 56 to 52 and 49. The standardized response means for PROMIS PI achieved a large effect size only at 3 months.


      The CTQ FSS is more responsive than PROMIS UE and the MHQ, with the CTQ FSS showing the largest effect sizes. PROMIS PI does not show the responsiveness seen in the CTQ Symptom Severity Scale and MHQ Pain Score. PROMIS instruments require less time to complete.

      Clinical relevance

      This study demonstrates the change in PROMIS scores after carpal tunnel release and how they compare with legacy outcome instruments.

      Key words

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