The purpose of carpal tunnel surgery is to relieve pressure on the median nerve, which is compressed in the wrist and causing debilitating pain, weakness, and numbness. This nerve normally rests comfortably inside a tunnel through the wrist called the carpal tunnel, but the compression causes carpal tunnel syndrome – so the pressure may be relieved through surgery.
If you are scheduled for carpal tunnel surgery, it is important to discuss the preparation and recovery process with your doctor. Let’s go over a few helpful tips on how to make your recovery from this procedure more comfortable and successful, and where you can go in Watertown for outstanding orthopedic treatment.
How to Have a Successful Carpal Tunnel Surgery Recovery
During this procedure, your surgeon will cut the transverse carpal ligament – which forms the roof of the carpal tunnel – in order to relieve the compression and pressure on the median nerve. After the procedure, you should gradually begin to experience an easing of symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.
Controlling Postoperative Pain and Swelling
Some swelling is to be expected after the procedure as the incision heals. To keep the swelling down, it is recommended that you keep the hand elevated as much as possible for the first 24 hours after the surgery.
You can also carefully and intermittently apply an ice pack to the palm area to control the swelling. Be sure to wrap the ice pack with a towel so that it doesn’t come into direct contact with your skin, and remove it from the area if it starts to feel uncomfortable in any way.
As for the pain, you will be prescribed pain medication by your surgeon which you should start taking as directed. If the pain becomes unbearable, do not hesitate to call your surgeon.
Avoiding Stiffness in the Hand
You want to avoid stiffness from developing during the first few days after carpal tunnel surgery. To help with blood circulation and to prevent internal scar buildup, you will be shown how to start moving the fingers by wiggling them, making a gentle fist, and then releasing the fingers. Bend your thumb toward the pinkie finger, then fully straighten it outward.
Caring for the Dressing
It is important to keep the dressing around the surgical wound clean and dry in order to avoid complications and infection. Once the dressing is allowed to be removed, you will likely be able to take a shower and to clean the incision site with soap; you will likely be advised not to take a bath, as full immersion of the wound should be avoided.
Patients who have had carpal tunnel surgery need to take time off from work to recover, since work invariably involves extensive use of the hands. About six to eight weeks is usually enough to allow yourself time to heal and focus on your recovery.
Engaging in Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is critical to recovery from any type of extensive surgery. For recovery from carpal tunnel surgery, physical therapy usually begins with range-of-motion exercises and then slowly progresses to strengthening exercises, until you regain full function of the operative hand.
Carpal Tunnel Surgery in Watertown, NY
If you have severe carpal tunnel syndrome, you and your orthopedic doctor may discuss surgery. Here at North Country Orthopaedic Group, we can perform open carpal tunnel release surgery or minimally invasive endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery – whichever would work best in your case. For your convenience, we also offer physical therapy services here in the same facility.
If you would like to request a consultation, call our clinic today at (315) 782-1650 or complete our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you get back the full function of your hand!