What does carpal tunnel surgery treat?
Carpal tunnel release surgery treats the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the hand and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome results from pressure on the median nerve, which controls how the fingers and thumb move and feel. Sufferers feel numbness and “pins and needles” type sensations in their fingers, as well as experiencing a general weakness in the hand.
The median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel, a narrow area in the wrist containing ligaments and bones. If the pressure on the median nerve is left untreated, the muscles in the hand and wrist can weaken or even waste away.
Carpal tunnel surgery is most commonly recommended in cases where:
- Other treatments, such as physiotherapy and pain medication, haven’t resolved the symptoms.
- There is pain and numbness in the hand and fingers over many months.
- There is difficulty gripping or performing other common actions with the hand and fingers.
Carpal tunnel surgery results
Carpal tunnel release surgery can eliminate hand and wrist pain, and other carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, and restore function and strength to the hand.
Preparing for carpal tunnel surgery
Patients may need to follow specific advice on what to eat and drink, and what medications to take or not take, within a certain time period before carpal tunnel release surgery.
What to expect with carpal tunnel surgery
Carpal tunnel surgery typically requires only local anesthesia. This means the patient is awake for the duration of the procedure, but the hand and wrist will be completely numb. The surgeon first makes a small incision in the wrist, and may also make an incision in the arm. Each incision is large enough for small instruments, which may include an endoscope (tiny camera) to guide the surgeon, to be inserted to perform the surgery and release the pressure on the median nerve. The surgeon then stitches the incision(s) closed and puts a bandage on the wrist.