Fifty patients (54 hands) who underwent carpal tunnel release for carpal tunnel syndrome were evaluated to determine the relationship between the prominence of specific clinical symptoms and the early results of carpal tunnel release. Patients were evaluated preoperatively, 3 weeks after surgery, and 3 months after surgery by questionnaire, physical examination, and Semmes-Weinstein monofilament pressure testing. The symptoms evaluated included hand/wrist/forearm pain, night pain/paresthesias, intermittent paresthesias, hand clumsiness, hand weakness, constant numbness, and difficulty with work related tasks. All symptoms showed significant improvements at 3 months after surgery. Overall symptom reduction at 3 months after surgery was 49% ± 73%. Overall satisfaction at 3 months after surgery was 7.8 ± 2.8 (0 to 10 scale). The severity of preoperative subjective hand weakness was significantly associated with less improvement of function at 3 months after surgery and with less satisfaction with overall symptom relief at 3 months after surgery. Although subjective outcomes in this study were markedly improved after carpal tunnel release regardless of preoperative symptomatology, patients with more preoperative night symptoms and intermittent paresthesias and less preoperative hand/wrist pain, numbness, weakness, clumsiness, and difficulty with work related tasks were the most satisfied with their surgery.