Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery: What To Expect

If the median nerve that runs along the forearm to the palm of your hand becomes compressed, carpal tunnel syndrome may occur. Symptoms include numbness or tingling in your hands and fingers. Often, symptoms start gradually and progress over time. In other circumstances, such as acute injury, the symptoms may occur suddenly. Carpal tunnel is common and non-surgical treatments such as splinting and resting the affected hand are often enough to provide relief. However, in other cases, surgery may be necessary. If your doctor has informed you that surgery is recommended for your particular case, here's what you need to know. 

Routine Surgery

If you're nervous about getting surgery, know that in the United States. carpal tunnel release is actually one of the most common surgical procedures. It's a very routine surgery for orthopedic surgeons. In order to release the pressure on the affected median nerve, the surgeon will cut the ligament around the wrist. If you have carpal tunnel in both hands, it might be necessary to perform surgery on them both, but not always. And while anesthesia is necessary, your surgeon will determine whether local, or general anesthesia is best for your situation. The good news is, it usually doesn't require a hospital stay and is most often done on an out-patient basis.

Endoscopic Release

There are two methods of carpal tunnel release surgery. The endoscopic method involves inserting scopes through small incisions and utilizing the scopes to perform the surgery. It's a minimally invasive form of surgery, which typically results in less scarring, more rapid recovery and less pain after the procedure. The surgeon will use high resolution cameras to help guide the scopes in order to see the ligaments and other parts of your hand before cutting the ligament with a special knife.

Open Release

The traditional method of carpal tunnel release is called open release. With this method, your surgeon will make an incision in your wrist long enough to use traditional instruments, typically up to 2 inches long. Instruments called retractors will separate the skin and hold it open so the surgeon can see the tendons and ligaments before cutting the appropriate ligament. This method does result in more scarring than the endoscopic release method, and you may need to wear a cast on your wrist for up to two weeks to allow your wrist to heal. Following surgery you'll need to avoid heavy use for about 12 weeks.

For more information, contact companies like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.