Carpal tunnel syndrome causes obvious symptoms such as numbness and tingling in the hand, wrist, and fingers – all fingers except the pinkie. It is caused by irritation or pressure being frequently placed on the median nerve, which runs from the forearm through the carpal tunnel in the wrist to the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and part of the ring finger.
“Carpal” means “wrist,” and the tunnel refers to the protective tube which houses the median nerve as it passes through the wrist. When the carpal tunnel is compressed, it puts pressure against the sensitive nerve. Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome are usually those in occupations that require heavy use of their arms and fingers, such as those who work at a computer all day. However, carpal tunnel syndrome can also develop due to other things, such as swelling of the hands due to fluid retention during pregnancy.
Mild cases may respond well to home treatments or physical therapy, but surgery is sometimes the only surefire way to relieve symptoms of the condition and prevent permanent disability. In the operation, the surgeon opens up and widens the tunnel, releasing the pressure on the nerve.
Let’s talk about some of the signs that may indicate you need to have surgery for your carpal tunnel syndrome – and who you can talk to in order to find out more.
When Carpal Tunnel Surgery May Be Recommended
It is critical to act quickly when symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome do not improve following conservative treatment, because otherwise the nerves and muscles could suffer irreparable damage. Therefore, if you are still feeling pain, numbness, and tingling even after following your doctor’s recommendations, and your symptoms are not showing any signs of improvement, let them know as soon as possible. The physician may recommend that you have surgery so that the nerves in your wrist, hand, and fingers do not become permanently damaged.
How Long Should I Wait Before Deciding to Have the Operation?
Six months is enough time to exhaust all conservative treatment methods, and to determine that they are not producing the desired and lasting results. If you wait a year, that will be too long.
Signs of nerve damage progression include a weakening of the hands and fingers. You may find it difficult to grip objects, such as your phone, a doorknob, or your computer mouse.
Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery in Watertown, NY
Carpal tunnel release surgery to widen the space in the carpal tunnel is a relatively quick procedure and takes under an hour to complete. It also requires a fairly short recovery period before you begin to experience improvement in your symptoms and regain function in your hand.
The medical team here at North Country Orthopaedic Group regularly performs carpal tunnel release surgery in our ambulatory surgical center in Watertown. We can help you experience relief from your symptoms and prevent future disability, so you can continue doing the things you love and living a normal lifestyle.
To request a consultation with one of our orthopedists, call North Country Orthopaedic Group today at (315) 782-1650 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you recover the full use of your hands once again.