Several tendons that are used to curl or flex the fingers pass through the carpal tunnel in the wrist along with the median nerve. The carpal tunnel is narrow, so swelling of any of the associated tissues may cause a pinch of the nerve resulting in pain. Many people have carpal tunnel surgery to reduce the pain and restore strength and feeling to the hand.
The surgery can be done using a local anesthesia that prevents pain during the procedure. Patients will be awake during the process but are given medication that also helps them to relax.
During this surgery, a surgeon cuts through the ligament located just under the skin on the inside of the wrist. This allows additional space for the nerve and tendons that must pass through the tunnel.
There are options to treat carpal tunnel without surgical intervention. Read this review…
Steps in Carpal Tunnel Surgery
- A small incision is cut into the palm of the hand near the wrist.
- The carpal transverse ligament is cut to release pressure on the nerve and tendons. If necessary, tissue that surrounds the nerve will also be removed.
- The surgeon uses stitches to close the skin along with the tissue underneath the skin.
If you want to see the exact process of carpal tunnel surgery watch this video below: (ATTENTION! this video is not for sensitive people)
Sometimes the surgeon is assisted by the use of a tiny camera which is attached to a monitor. The camera is inserted into the wrist using a small incision. It allows the surgeon to see inside the wrist using the monitor.
Why the Carpal tunnel surgery is Performed?
Many times, patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome will have tried several other possible treatments before the surgery. These may have included:
- Changes at the workplace to improve ergonomics
- Cortisone shots
If these treatments do not help, the doctor may suggest a test of the electrical activity of the median nerve using a machine called an EMG. The if the test indicates carpal tunnel problems, carpal tunnel surgery may be recommended. If the muscles in the wrist and hand are growing smaller due to the problem, the surgeon may suggest immediate surgery.
Click “Options For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” for more information.
Risks of carpal tunnel surgery
There are some risks to this surgery that should be considered. These include:
- Allergic reactions to annesthesia
- Injury to nerves
- Injury to another nerve or blood vessel (rare)
- Scar sensitivity
After the Carpal tunnel surgery
Patients can generally go home shortly after the surgery and are not required to stay in the hospital. After the procedure, the wrist is generally kept in a splint or other heavy bandage for a week. Once the bandages are removed, the patient should begin exercises or physical therapy.
While this surgery can decrease pain and numbness while also restoring muscle strength, there is another option. If you are bothered by carpal tunnel syndrome, you might want to read about this non-surgical alternative before you have the surgery. Many patients who have used this method have results that are as effective as surgery without the possible side effects.