If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and think you need hand surgery to relieve symptoms, you are not alone. Carpal tunnel affects 4 to 10 million people in the United States and, without surgery, many of these individual would be unable to work or take care of their families. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes, carpal tunnel release is one of the most common surgical procedures in the nation.
The Focus of Hand Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are the result of pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. Your median nerve and tendons, which help you curl your fingers and feel sensation in your thumb and first three fingers, go through a narrow passage in your wrist, known as the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is so narrow that even minor swelling or inflammation can press against the nerve to cause pain.
The carpal ligament, which is a thick band of tissue, makes up the top of the carpal tunnel. Inflammation in this ligament presses against your median nerve to cause pain, numbness or tingling in your wrist and hand. Chronic inflammation may cause the carpal ligament to thicken, sometimes resulting in debilitating symptoms that can prevent you from working or taking care of your family.
The focus of a carpal tunnel procedure is to relieve the pressure on the median nerve, usually by releasing the pressure caused by the carpal ligament.
Hand Surgery to Relieve Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A hand doctor will usually recommend hand surgery if your symptoms persist for six months or more, or if you have severe and debilitating symptoms. If you are like many patients, you will need carpal tunnel syndrome surgery on both hands.
Usually a hand surgeon will perform the carpal tunnel procedure after administering a local anesthetic, rather than using general anesthetic. One of the greatest benefits to this approach is that a carpal tunnel procedure does not require an overnight stay in a hospital.
There are two types of carpal tunnel procedures: Open release surgery and endoscopic surgery. In open release surgery, the hand surgeon makes a 2-inch incision on your wrist. He then severs the carpal ligament to relieve pressure on the median nerve.
Endoscopic surgery may allow for faster recovery time, minimal scarring, and less postoperative pain. During endoscopic surgery, the hand surgeon makes small incisions in your wrist and palm of your hand then inserts a tiny camera through one and tools through another.
Hand surgery to release pressure on your median nerve should relieve your symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. To learn more, contact a hand specialist today.