Spotlight on Carpal Tunnel Surgery
The carpal tunnel is a narrow, bony passageway located in the wrist. Through it extends the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed, causing pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers. Although carpal tunnel syndrome is treatable with nonsurgical methods, it can gradually grow worse over time. When conservative treatments are no longer sufficient to relieve symptoms, patients might consider talking to an orthopedic surgeon about having carpal tunnel surgery.
Goal of Carpal Tunnel Surgery
This particular surgery is known as a carpal tunnel release. Its goal is to relieve the compression on the median nerve. This can be accomplished by cutting the ligament that extends through the carpal tunnel in order to create more space in this passageway for the nerve.
Preparations for Surgery
The orthopedic surgeon will need to make sure a patient is a good candidate for this procedure. Patients should share their full medical history and undergo an examination. They may need to have a few medical tests. The orthopedic doctor may instruct patients to stop taking certain medications for a week prior to the surgery. Patients will also need a responsible adult to drive them, and they will need to follow pre-operative instructions regarding fasting prior to surgery.
Recovery from Surgery
Immediately after the surgery, patients are encouraged to flex their fingers to prevent stiffness and reduce swelling. A splint or wrist brace may need to be worn for several weeks. The affected hand can be used for light activities. Patients can support a speedy recovery by applying a cold pack as directed, not lifting heavy objects, and keeping the hand elevated above the level of the heart for a few days. A full recovery may take a few months. Physical therapy can be helpful in restoring grip strength.
You’ll receive personalized care and cutting-edge medical treatments at Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute. Conveniently located in Steamboat Springs, CO, this medical practice consists of highly trained specialists who can diagnose and treat all disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, including carpal tunnel syndrome. You can call their office at (970) 879-6663 to request an appointment.