Carpal Tunnel Release: What to Expect
Carpal tunnel syndrome belongs to a group of peripheral nerve disorders known as entrapment neuropathy. Chronic compression of these nerves leads to pain and loss of motor and sensory function of the affected body part.
Carpal tunnel affects approximately 3 to 6 percent of adults in the general population; making it the most prevalent form of entrapment neuropathy. It is caused by the compression of the median nerve, which passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The median nerve supplies the forearm and the hand and is responsible for sensation and major hand movements. When this nerve is pinched, it can lead to numbness, pain, and weakness.
This condition can have a negative impact on the overall health and productivity of patients. Aside from limited hand movements, a study revealed that patients with carpal tunnel syndrome have poorer sleep quality. They also lack 2.5 hours of sleep compared to what is recommended.
What is the Cause Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
It used to be thought that carpal tunnel syndrome was caused by overuse or repetitive hand motion, often by people who work at computers. It is now known that a congenital predisposition can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel can also be caused by strains and sprains or even fractures after they have healed. When the median nerve area has been injured, swelling of the tissues puts pressure on the nerve.
It is important to note that symptoms start gradually but can worsen over time. If you notice symptoms of carpal tunnel, see an orthopedic specialist for treatment before it becomes worse.
How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Treated
There are nonsurgical treatment options available for carpal tunnel syndrome, and these include:
- Keeping the wrist in a neutral position
- Wearing a wrist splint, especially at night, to prevent overextending your wrist when sleeping
- Taking pain and anti-inflammatory medications
According to Raleigh Orthopedic Surgery Center experts, these methods may work if there’s no significant damage to the median nerve. Otherwise, surgery may be indicated to treat the condition.
Carpal Tunnel Release
This procedure can be performed in Raleigh Outpatient Surgery Center, Nc. It is usually recommended for patients who have failed to see improvements after six months of nonsurgical interventions.
Since carpal tunnel release is an outpatient procedure, patients can go home on the same day once the surgery is over.
There are two types of carpal tunnel release surgery:
Open carpal tunnel release
The surgeon makes a 2-inch incision on the wrist to reveal the carpal tunnel. The transverse carpal tunnel ligament is cut to make the space larger and relieve the pressure from the median nerve.
Endoscopic carpal tunnel release
This type uses an endoscope, a flexible tube with a camera inserted into the wrist through a small incision. This camera will guide the surgeon on where to cut the ligament. Another incision is made in the palm, where the cutting tool is inserted. Once again, the transverse carpal tunnel ligament is cut to release the pressure.
You will only be given a local anesthetic to numb the surgical site so that you won’t feel pain during surgery. Once the ligament is cut, the surgeon will close the incisions with sutures.
Patients will have to wear a bandage or a splint to limit wrist movement during recovery, usually taking 1-2 weeks.
How Can I Prepare for Carpal Tunnel Release?
Make sure you tell your provider about all medications you are currently taking. That includes not only prescription medications but vitamins and mineral supplements as well. Likely you will need to stop taking medications that make it harder for blood to clot, such as naproxen or ibuprofen.
If you are a smoker, it is advised to quit at least a month before surgery. Smoking can delay healing.
Also, you will likely need to fast for 6-12 hours before your carpal tunnel surgery. If any other specifics are required to prepare for your surgery, your physician will discuss these with you before your surgery.
What Should I Know About Recovery After Carpal Tunnel Release?
You will likely need to wear a splint for 1-2 weeks after the surgery. Sometimes it is replaced by a brace that you may wear for a week after surgery.
It is not unusual to have some amount of pain. It’s important to take pain medications as prescribed and keep your wrist elevated to help decrease swelling.
Next, you can expect to start physical therapy. Usually, the focus is on learning exercises to improve the movement of the hand and wrist.
Recovery can last for a few weeks to a few months. You may need to limit activities and return to work until you heal.
If you notice any of the following signs, be sure to report them to your physician:
- Redness or drainage from the incision site
- Unusual bleeding from the incision
- Increased pain that is not controlled by medication
Unexpected reactions after surgery are rare, but our team at our orthopedic surgery center in Raleigh is here for you if you ever have a concern after your carpal tunnel release procedure.
Learn More About Our Outpatient Orthopedic Surgery Center
The Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center, NC, is committed to providing you with world-class services during your treatment. Your care will at all times be physician-directed and patient-focused.
Our experienced staff can assist with answering questions or concerns before or after your carpal tunnel release procedure. Our team of highly skilled orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other professional staff work together to achieve the best possible outcomes for you. The Raleigh Orthopaedic Surgery Center has board-certified surgeons and physicians with advanced training in their respective sub-specialties. Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic surgeons perform more than 4,000 outpatient orthopedic procedures on an annual basis.
You are not only a patient to us. You are an individual with exceptional circumstances, requirements, and needs. We provide comprehensive and specialized care for a wide variety of orthopedic conditions.
If you would like more information, please feel free to give us a call at 919-719-3070
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.