Carpal tunnel syndrome: A type of compression neuropathy (nerve damage) caused by compression and irritation of the median nerve in the wrist. The nerve is compressed within the carpal tunnel, a bony canal in the palm side of the wrist that provides passage for the median nerve to the hand. The irritation of the median nerve is specifically due to pressure from the transverse carpal ligament. See the entire definition of carpal tunnel for more information.
Carpal tunnel release: A surgical procedure to relieve pressure exerted on the median nerve within the carpal tunnel (the carpal tunnel syndrome). The median nerve is pinched in the wrist as it passes through the carpal tunnel. The buildup of scar tissue inside the carpal tunnel leads to this problem. Treatment options include splinting, anti-inflammatory agents, and surgery. The surgical release is performed via a small incision using conventional surgery or a fiber optic scope (endoscopic carpal tunnel repair).
To learn more see this informative Carpal Tunnel Slideshow