Editor's Choice| Volume 47, ISSUE 10, P944-952, October 2022

The Utility of the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-6 for Predicting the Outcomes of Carpal Tunnel Release

Published:August 05, 2022DOI:


      Considering the cost of, discomfort with, and time required for nerve conduction testing, the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-6 (CTS-6) is often used to determine the likelihood of the presence of carpal tunnel syndrome. We sought to determine whether the CTS-6, designed as a diagnostic instrument, could serve a dual purpose and predict the outcome of carpal tunnel release (CTR) based on postoperative changes in the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire (BCTQ) score.


      This prospective observational study enrolled 118 adults before they underwent open CTR at a tertiary center. A primary regression analysis was used to determine the association between preoperative CTS-6 scores and changes in the BCTQ score at ≥6 months after surgery. Additional demographic, social, electrodiagnostic, and mental health variables were assessed for associations with changes in the BCTQ score. The secondary outcomes included single questions rating satisfaction with the result of CTR as well as symptom changes and the Decision Regret Scale. Noneffective CTR was defined as a BCTQ score change of <1.0 point or reported dissatisfaction.


      Postoperatively, the BCTQ score improvement averaged 1.38 ± 0.77. Although 102 of 109 patients (94%) noted symptom improvement, 94 of 109 (86%) were satisfied with the result of CTR, and 78 of 109 patients (72%) demonstrated a meaningful change in the BCTQ score. Preoperative CTS-6 scores were not correlated with changes in BCTQ scores. CTS-6 scores were not associated with Decision Regret Scale scores, reported satisfaction, or the single-question assessment of symptom changes. Satisfaction, decision regret, and the single symptom change question were correlated with changes in the BCTQ score and each other. Dissatisfied patients were distinguished by a differential improvement in the BCTQ score (1.5 vs 0.7), but no preoperative variable consistently predicted noneffective CTR.


      The CTS-6 score does not predict changes in BCTQ scores after CTR. Patient satisfaction with surgical results is associated with postoperative changes in carpal tunnel symptoms but is not predictable using preoperative information. A single question of symptom change may offer an efficient assessment of CTR outcomes.

      Type of study/level of evidence

      Prognostic II.

      Key words

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