Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a progressive condition that occurs when the median nerve – one of the major nerves that provides the hand its sensation and muscle movement– is compressed or entrapped and cannot function properly. CTS can cause pain, weakness, shock-like and tingling sensations, and numbness that can radiate up the forearm, rendering a person unable to perform simple daily activities, such as those that involve grasping and gripping.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, your orthopedic surgeon will usually first explore all conservative interventions. However, if your symptoms persist, your doctor will likely recommend surgery to address your problem altogether.
Carpal tunnel release surgery is a fairly simple procedure with a high success rate (over 90 percent). Read on to learn more about carpal tunnel release surgery, particularly its different types, what you can expect at each of the procedures, and what the recovery entails.
Types of Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
Carpal tunnel release surgery has two types, as outlined below:
- Open Release Surgery
During an open release surgery, your orthopedic surgeon administers an anesthetic to numb your hand, then creates a two- to three-inch opening at the base of your palm, to access the roof of the carpal tunnel known as the transverse carpal ligament. Next, your surgeon severs the carpal ligament that is pressing down on the carpal tunnel to make more room for the median nerve and the tendons passing through it. This consequently relieves the pressure on the median nerve.
The open release procedure is relatively short, lasting approximately 15 minutes.
- Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
Endoscopic carpal tunnel release is either a single-portal or a dual-portal technique. During the procedure, your surgeon creates one or two tiny incisions in your hand or wrist through which they insert a long, thin, and flexible instrument called an endoscope and miniature surgical tools using ultrasound guidance. Your surgeon severs the carpal ligament from underneath.
Given the minimally invasive nature of the endoscopic carpal tunnel release, the method is associated with lower risk of complications, faster recovery, and higher level of patient satisfaction.
Recovery from CTS Surgery
After your carpal tunnel release surgery, your doctor will discuss any activity restrictions you will need to adhere to throughout your recovery.
Your wrist will likely be bandaged or in a splint for a week or two, during which you will have to move your fingers to help prevent stiffness and keep your hand elevated when you sleep to help decrease the swelling. You may experience some pain in your hand and wrist, but this can be controlled with prescription pain medication.
Your physical therapy program will begin after your doctor removes your bandage or splint. You will likely have to perform motion exercises to restore the mobility and function of your wrist and hand as well as to speed up the healing process.
Carpal Tunnel Surgery in Watertown, New York
At North Country Orthopaedic Group, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons combine their acumen and expertise with advanced technology to deliver exceptional treatment outcomes for the entire range of musculoskeletal problems—including carpal tunnel syndrome. Our orthopedic surgeons have performed numerous successful carpal tunnel surgeries using both techniques, and have helped scores of patients in Watertown and neighboring areas regain the normal function of their hands. Let us help you as well!
To see one of our orthopedic surgeons, call us at (315) 782-1650 or request an appointment right here on our website now.