Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
Carpal Tunnel syndrome is a fairly common condition. What most do not realize, is that is also common for plastic surgeons to do surgical procedures to correct complications that arise from this syndrome. This article will explain what this surgery is, and what to consider before undergoing this procedure.
What happens during surgery?
During carpal tunnel release surgery, the transverse carpal ligament is cut which releases pressure on the median nerve and relieves symptoms of carpal tunnel.
The doctor will make an incision at the base of the palm. This will allow him to see the transverse carpal ligament. After the ligament is cut, the skin will be closed with stitches. The place where the ligament was cut is left alone and will fill up with scar tissue.
Carpal Tunnel surgery is an out-patient procedure, which means you typically do not need to stay overnight in the hospital. You should be able to go home on the same day.
What can I expect after surgery?
After the surgery is complete, the hand will be wrapped. The stitches will stay in place and will be removed 10 days to 2 weeks after the surgery. The pain and numbness that are caused by carpal tunnel syndrome may go away right after the surgery, or take several months to completely be relieved. Doctors will typically recommend that you avoid heavy use of your hand for up to three months after the surgery.
When you return to work can depend on whether the dominant hand was involved, what you do with your hands at work, and how much effort you put into physical therapy.
How do I know if I should consider this surgery?
You should consider this surgery if:
- Tumors or other growths need to be removed
- There is damage to the median nerve, which is shown by the test results and loss of hand or finger function.
- Symptoms are still present after a long period of treatment other than surgery. Surgery is not typically considered until after several weeks to months of non surgical treatment. This also assumes that you are having ongoing symptoms but no nerve damage. Nerve damage would always make surgery more urgent.
- Severe symptoms such as persistent loss of coordination in fingers or hand, or no strength in the thumb that restrict normal daily activities.
Does it work?
After surgery, most people don’t have symptoms of pain and numbness. In other patients, these symptoms are greatly lessened and make it easier to do everyday activities.
In some cases, the pain and numbness may return after surgery, or there can be temporary loss of strength when gripping or pinching an object. If the muscles in the thumb have been weakened severely, hand strength and function may be limited even after surgery is completed.
What are the risks?
The risks involved with this surgery are actually very low. Major problems such as nerve damage happen in less than 1% of surgeries. There is a small risk that these nerves may be damaged during surgery. As well, recovery may be slower than other types of surgery. There may also be pain in the wrist and hand, as well as tenderness around the scar area.
As with all surgeries, there are always risks. However, this type of surgery is very minor and the benefits seem to outweigh the possible complications. Talk to your doctor today about getting relief from that hand pain.