Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
Since 1 in every 20 people will suffer from this debilitating condition at some time in their lives, it’s likely that you or a loved one has or is currently dealing with the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in the Las Vegas valley.
The condition presents as numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in your hand, including the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Symptoms range from discomfort that is annoying, to pain that interferes with your daily activities and even wakes you at night. Carpel Tunnel Release in Las Vegas may be a good option for you.
Carpal tunnel syndrome results from compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist to your hand and it can be worsened by certain repetitive activities such as typing or manual labor. As the nerve crosses the wrist, it has to travel through a very tight tunnel. Wrist bones and the carpal ligament form this tunnel, and it contains the median nerve as well as tendons to your fingers. Occasionally, there can be swelling in the carpal tunnel that results in the squeezing of the median nerve and this pressure results in pain. If you are experiencing this frustrating pain, you may want to consider a Las Vegas procedure that releases the pressure in the carpal tunnel.
A number of physical tests and diagnostic exams can help confirm the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. There are some tests you can try on yourself. Hold your wrists in an extremely flexed or extended (bent) position for at least one minute. Does this recreate the previously mentioned symptoms? Now try tapping the nerve over the wrist. If this causes a shooting electrical pulse or a tingling sensation into the tips of the affected fingers, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. In order to confirm this diagnosis, your physician will likely order some additional testing, including an EMG and nerve conduction study. These tests evaluate if there is slowed nerve conduction or changes in the electrical activity of the muscles that the nerve innervates.
For people who are concerned they may have carpal tunnel syndrome, the EMG and nerve conduction tests are necessary. Although the syndrome is very common, there are a number of other compressed nerves or syndromes that can present similarly.
Is there medication or therapy that can fix this or does it require surgery?
Fortunately, there are a number of non-operative treatments for CTS. One of the more effective and simple treatments is wearing wrist splints that hold the wrist in a neutral position, meaning it is neither flexed nor extended. These can usually be purchased at your local drug store. These splints often come in a slightly extended position, but usually the splint can be bent into a straight, neutral position if the splint is made of metal covered in padding. The splint is usually only worn at night so that the wrist doesn’t become stiff over time.
An additional treatment that avoids surgery is using oral anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Aleve, or Aspirin. They should be taken consistently for at least one week, but be careful if you are prone to stomach ulcers or bleed easily, because these medications can aggravate both conditions. There is also some research that suggests Vitamin B6 can help relieve the symptoms of CTS.
Another non-operative medication that is offered by physicians is corticosteroid injections. These work about 10% of the time, but if you have diabetes it usually isn’t a good option as it can make your blood glucose level very difficult to control. Physical therapy may also be effective in helping to relieve the symptoms; particularly nerve gliding and stretching exercises.
If you have exhausted all of these options or just want to be done dealing with your symptoms, surgery is a definitive solution. Fortunately, carpal tunnel release surgery has evolved over the years and has become a simple and effective procedure. It is a same-day surgery, meaning you go home immediately after your surgery and recovery usually takes only 2 weeks. The surgery itself often takes less than 30 minutes.
There are several different surgical techniques to treat CTS. The oldest and most common is an open approach, which involves making an incision through the palm to the end of the wrist, cutting the ligament that compresses the nerve. Some surgeons offer a short scar open approach. There are also minimal access techniques that involve two or, my personal favorite, one small incision in either the hand or the wrist. The single small incision in the wrist technique is an endoscopic surgery. This means a small camera is inserted into the carpal tunnel to visualize the carpal ligament and the compressed nerve, allowing the surgeon to cut the ligament without cutting the overlying skin or injuring the nerve. Studies suggest that patients who have the surgery using an endoscopic technique are able to return back to work sooner than if they have surgery by an open technique.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common and often debilitating condition. Given the broad treatment options from medications to same-day minimally invasive surgery, no one should have to tolerate the discomfort and pain it causes.