Carpal Tunnel Repair
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common problem affecting the hand and wrist. Symptoms begin when the median nerve gets squeezed inside the carpal tunnel of the wrist, a medical condition known as nerve entrapment or compressive neuropathy.
The carpal tunnel is an opening through the wrist to the hand that is formed by the bones of the wrist on one side and the transverse carpal ligament on the other. The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel into the hand. It gives sensation to the thumb, index finger, long finger, and half of the ring finger. It also sends a nerve branch to control the thenar muscles of the thumb.
Any condition that decreases the size of the carpal tunnel or enlarges the tissues inside the tunnel can produce the symptoms of CTS. Symptoms often include numbness, tingling, and pain in both the arm and hand. CTS symptoms typically worsen over time but early diagnosis and treatment can help alleviate the pain and give you the ability to return to normal functions more quickly.
This syndrome has received a lot of attention in recent years because of suggestions that it may be linked with occupations that require repeated use of the hands, such as typing on a computer keyboard or doing assembly work. However, for most people who develop this condition it is unrelated to the type of work they do.
Carpal Tunnel Treatment
The first step in treating CTS usually involves non-surgical options, which may include:
- Wearing a wrist brace
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications
- Receiving cortisone injections
- Avoiding repetitive hand motions, heavy grasping, and certain wrist positions
- Physical therapy
If all attempts to control your symptoms fail, however, surgery may be suggested to reduce the pressure on the median nerve.
Carpal tunnel release is performed using a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure and provides complete or nearly complete relief of the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. The endoscopic procedure is described in the video below.
Recovery after endoscopic carpal tunnel release is quick. You may use your hand as symptoms allow right away. Depending on the type of work you do, you may return to work anywhere from the next day to a few weeks.
To ensure a successful recovery, your SROSM orthopaedic surgeon will talk with you about the recommended post-operative guidelines that should be followed after carpal tunnel release. Most patients do not require physical therapy after surgery and resume normal activity right away.
To speak with one of our board certified specialists, make an appointment at the location closest to you in Spring or The Woodlands. You can also learn more by reading our booklet A Patient’s Guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.