Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common nerve entrapment disorder worldwide. The epidemiology and risk factors, including family burden, for developing CTS are multi-factorial. Despite much research, its intricate pathophysiological mechanism(s) are not fully understood. An underlying subclinical neuropathy may indicate an increased susceptibility to developing CTS. Although surgery is often performed for CTS, clear international guidelines to indicate when to perform non-surgical or surgical treatment, based on stage and severity of CTS, remain to be elucidated. Neurophysiological examination, using electrophysiology or ultrasonography, performed in certain circumstances, should correlate with the history and findings in clinical examination of the person with CTS. History and clinical examination are particularly relevant globally owing to lack of other equipment. Various instruments are used to assess CTS and treatment outcomes as well as the effect of the disorder on quality of life. The surgical treatment options of CTS — open or endoscopic — offer an effective solution to mitigate functional impairments and pain. However, there are risks of post-operative persistent or recurrent symptoms, requiring meticulous diagnostic re-evaluation before any additional surgery. Health-care professionals should have increased awareness about CTS and all its implications. Future considerations of CTS include use of linked national registries to understand risk factors, explore possible screening methods, and evaluate diagnosis and treatment with a broader perspective beyond surgery, including psychological well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalNature Reviews Disease Primers
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Dec

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Surgery


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