Carpal tunnel syndrome, a chronic musculoskeletal condition of the median nerve in the wrist and hand, affects about six percent of Americans. It features hand weakness, numbness, tingling, and pain. Typically progressive, CTS can be so severe it requires surgery.
Let’s learn more about the procedure, what it takes to recover, and where you can go for excellent carpal tunnel surgery in Watertown, NY.
The Reasons for Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Repetitive motions, such as keyboarding or hammering, small wrist size, genetics, pregnancy, diabetes, and simply being a middle-aged female can predispose a patient to carpal tunnel syndrome. This common nerve entrapment condition can respond well to anti-inflammatory medications, splinting, physical therapy exercises, and simple rest.
However, when pain, numbness, and tingling only increase and hand strength and function decrease, CTS requires tendon release surgery. Typically an outpatient or day procedure, CTS surgery involves creating a small notch in the transverse carpal ligament across the wrist. Because of the notch, the median nerve is decompressed, and symptoms resolve almost immediately.
Recovering from Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Most of today’s surgeries for CTS are endoscopic–that is, the doctor uses tiny surgical instruments inserted through a small incision in the inner aspect of the wrist. The surgeon visualizes the affected area through a lighted endoscope and creates a notch in the tendon. The scope and tools are withdrawn, and the doctor closes the wound with a few stitches. The wrist and hand are heavily bandaged, but the fingers can move freely.
Depending on their unique needs, people keep their bandages intact and dry for a few days to a week. Sutures stay in place for a week to ten days and are then removed by the doctor.
Rest and elevation are crucial immediately after CTS surgery. Then, light activities–but no heavy lifting–can begin. Additionally, physical therapy exercises to keep the fingers mobile start immediately, and patients continue with an in-office therapy program for at least a few weeks to improve hand and wrist strength and flexibility.
Results of CTS Surgery
Carpal tunnel surgery produces very favorable results for otherwise healthy adults who have struggled with the pain, numbness, and loss of strength typical of this nerve entrapment condition. Long-term, the vast majority of surgical patients are pleased with their results. Most feel that their hands have returned to normal in strength and sensation.
Your surgeon will help you avoid some of the triggers of CTS, which include:
- Fluid retention and obesity
- Poor posture (ergonomics)
- Cold temperatures
CTS Diagnosis and Treatment Options in Watertown, NY
The North Country Orthopaedic Group is a multispecialty orthopedic practice specializing in diagnosing and treating a broad spectrum of musculoskeletal injuries. Our practice brings together every aspect of treatment under one roof. Your comfort and convenience matter to us, which is why we have made sure our surgical center is in the same facility as our physical therapy center.
We strive for excellence and see that you receive the best treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, from open-release surgery to endoscopic-release surgery. For a full evaluation, please call the North Country Orthopaedic Group at (315) 782-1650 or request an appointment now.