This study used the National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery (NSAS) database to measure the incidence of and risk factors for symptoms in the ambulatory surgery center and problems within 24 h after isolated carpal tunnel release (CTR). The NSAS contained records on 400,000 adult patients with carpal tunnel syndrome who were treated with CTR in 2006, based on ICD-9 codes. The type of anesthesia used and factors associated with symptoms and problems were sought in bivariate and multivariable statistical analyses. The mean duration of the procedure was 16 ± 8.8 min. Only 5 % were performed under local anesthesia without sedation, 45 % with IV sedation, 28 % regional anesthesia, and 19 % general anesthesia. Symptoms in the ambulatory surgery center or a problem within 24 h after discharge were recorded in 10 % of patients, all of them minor and transient, including difficulties with pain and its treatment. The strongest risk factors were male sex, age of 45 years and older, and participation of an anesthesiologist. Local anesthesia and regional anesthesia were associated with more perioperative symptoms and postoperative problems. Most CTR are performed with some sedation in the United States. CTR is a safe procedure: one in 10 patients will experience a minor issue in the perioperative or immediate postoperative period.