Background Health literacy is the ability to obtain, process, and understand health information needed to make appropriate health decisions. The proper comprehension by patients regarding a given disease, its treatment, and the physician's instructions plays an important role in shared decision-making. Studies have disagreed over the degree to which differences in health literacy affect patients' preferences for shared decision-making; we therefore sought to evaluate this in the context of shared decision-making about carpal tunnel release. Questions/purposes (1) Do patients with limited health literacy have different preferences of shared decision-making for carpal tunnel release than those with greater levels of health literacy? (2) How do patients with limited health literacy retrospectively perceive their role in shared decision-making after carpal tunnel release? Methods Over a 32-month period, one surgeon surgically treated 149 patients for carpal tunnel syndrome. Patients were eligible if they had cognitive and language function to provide informed consent and complete a self-reported questionnaire and were not eligible if they had nerve entrapment other than carpal tunnel release or had workers compensation issues; based on those, 140 (94%) were approached for study. Of those, seven (5%) were lost to followup before 6 months, leaving 133 for analysis here. Their mean age was 55 years (range, 31-76 years), and 83% (111 of 133) were women. Thirty-three percent (44 of 133) of patients had less than a high school education. Health literacy was measured according to the Newest Vital Sign during the initial visit, and a score of # 3 was considered limited health literacy. Forty-four percent of patients had limited health literacy. The Control Preferences Scale was used for patients to indicate their preferred role in surgical decision-making preoperatively and to assess their perceived level of involvement postoperatively. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were performed to determine whether.