The Definitive Guide to Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Carpal tunnel surgery is a common treatment for those who are suffering from the carpal tunnel syndrome mainly because there are fewer recurrences that occur with this treatment method. However, before we tackle the various surgical methods that can help treat the syndrome, let us first understand the disease itself.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition that afflicts one percent of the worldwide population. The percentage is larger, approximately five percent, in those who are working in jobs that involves repetitive motions of the hands and the wrists. Carpal tunnel syndrome is considered to be the compression of the median nerve, a nerve that lines through the carpal tunnel found in the wrist area. The so-called carpal tunnel is a small and tight space between the band of fibrous tissue surrounding the wrist, which acts like a support to the wrist and the joint bone. When the carpal tunnel changes in position or becomes inflamed due to various medical conditions and diseases, it tends to pinch the median nerve, causing the carpal tunnel symptoms to manifest.

Typically, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include a slight tingling sensation and numbness that runs through the palm of the hands and the fingers, usually the thumb, the index finger and the ring finger. For more progressive cases, the person suffering from the syndrome may also experience a loss of grip strength, muscle weakness and atrophied muscles.

Carpal Release Surgery

Carpal Tunnel Surgery is most often recommended for those who are not alleviated by the non-surgical form of treatment, including medications, exercise and alternative interventions and those who have been experiencing the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Surgery for at least six months. The surgery used for carpal tunnel syndrome is commonly known as the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This surgery involves cutting the band of fibrous tissue surrounding the wrist area so as to widen the carpal tunnel and decrease the pressure on the median nerve. The carpal release surgery is commonly considered a minor surgery as it only uses local anesthesia and the patient doesn't have to stay in the hospital overnight unless other medical conditions call otherwise.

There are two main types of carpal release surgery, each with their own pros and cons. The first is the open release surgery, which is the oldest type of carpal release surgery to date. Historically, there are a larger number of surgeons who use this method, mostly because it is the first type to become popular in the medical field. This surgery involves creating a 2-inch incision on the wrist so as to ease the compression on the median nerve. This is done with local anesthesia and won't require an overnight stay at the hospital.

The other type of carpal release surgery is the endoscopic carpal release surgery. Compared to the open release surgery, this uses an endoscope so as to limit the incision needed possible. This also offers a faster recovery rate and smaller possibilities of complications compared to open release surgery. This type of surgery has surged in popularity since the year 1990s. The endoscopic carpal release surgery is done by making two small incisions of half an inch on the wrist where a camera will be inserted. This camera will be used to view the location of the carpal ligament, which functions as the binding mechanism between the two joints). When the surgeon determines the location of the ligament, he can cut it and widen the carpal tunnel, thereby decreasing the pressure on the median nerve. This endoscopic carpal release surgery is called the two-portal endoscopic surgery. Nevertheless, there is also a one-portal endoscopic surgery available at request, which only needs one, larger incision.

Like open carpal surgery, the endoscopic carpal release surgery is done under local anesthesia. However, the scars that will appear after surgery will be smaller and relatively inconspicuous compared to the scars left by the open carpal surgery. Carpal release surgery is considered to be a very effective treatment for carpal tunnel surgery as it has a 90% recovery rate.

After the surgery

However, after the surgery, patients may experience weakened hands and wrist because of the damage done on the carpal tunnel. This will need varying time with a physical therapist to ensure that the extremities will go back to its former strength. Although carpal release surgery may seem like a miracle treatment for those suffering from CTS, the extremity weakness that follows after the surgery should also be considered before undergoing the surgery itself.

It is important to modify various tasks in the job, especially for those who hold secretarial positions and other jobs that need frequent typing. If possible, you can change your jobs as well in order to decrease as much pressure and movement on your wrist and hands as possible. The area of surgery might also be placed in wrist splint to prevent motion and further damage.

It is important to listen to the instructions given by the nurse or your doctor before leaving the hospital. For any signs of complications such as infection and nerve damage, consult your physician as soon as possible.

Carpal Tunnel Surgery is a treatment that does more benefits than harm. Despite its high recovery rate, it is still important to be vigilant for complications so as to ensure that you recover safely and without any hindrances.