Carpal tunnel surgery (or carpal tunnel release surgery) treats carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that weakens the hand.
What is carpal tunnel surgery?
Carpal tunnel release surgery is carried out by an orthopedic surgeon or plastic surgeon to treat carpal tunnel syndrome in the hand and wrist. The surgery is typically performed two ways; open technique (more common) or endoscope (or keyhole) surgery, which is minimally invasive and leads to faster recovery times. In endoscopic surgery, the surgeon makes a small incision and uses small instruments, including a tiny camera, called an endoscope, to perform surgery.
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.
Recovery after carpal tunnel surgery
After surgery, the patient is taken to a recovery room to be monitored in case there are any complications. Carpal tunnel release surgery is typically outpatient surgery that doesn’t require an overnight stay. A patient must have someone on-hand to drive them home as they will only have one functioning hand while recovering.
Patients are likely to need to keep the bandage on their wrist for one or two weeks, after which it’s possible to start using the hand for everyday activities, such as driving. Every patient is different, but for most patients, it can take from 10 to 12 weeks to regain full strength in the hand.
Endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, which means recovery can be faster than after open surgery.
Get carpal tunnel surgery with Centric Health
Many men and women from across Canada and all over the world choose Centric Health Surgical Centres for carpal tunnel release surgery. Our orthopedic surgeons have years of experience and excellence in performance and outcome with this procedure. They are committed to helping treat your carpal tunnel syndrome and regain full motion in your hand and wrist. We strive to provide exceptional pre- and post-operative care. Combined with our patient-centred philosophy, we aim to provide all our patients with a compassionate, caring, and rewarding experience.
Next steps: Book your carpal tunnel surgery consultation
If you are ready to discuss your carpal tunnel surgery needs with our orthopedic surgeons, contact us to learn more and request a consultation today. To discover your health options your patient care coordinator will discuss:
- Your medical history
- Incision techniques
- Potential risks and complications