Carpal tunnel release surgery is the surgery used for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the weakness and pain felt on the hand. The pain or weakness is generally caused from the pressure built over the median nerve present in the wrist. Carpal tunnel surgery is also referred as carpal tunnel decompression surgery or simply carpal tunnel surgery.
Carpal tunnel is the place, where the tendons that curl the fingers and median nerve are passed through it. Since the tunnel is very narrow, small swelling also may pinch this nerve and will cause the pain. A tissue, which is just under the skin is made as the top of the tunnel.
Need for the Surgery
Candidates, who suffer from the carpal tunnel syndrome usually go for the non surgical treatments initially, based on the complexity of the syndrome and symptoms. The non surgical treatments conducted for it, are occupational therapy, wrist splints, anti-inflammatory medicine, usage of the equipment, changes of the workplaces and shots of medicine, corticosteroid medicine for carpal tunnel.
If the above treatments are of no help, the electrical activity for the median nerve is tested with the help of EMG. If the outcome of this test is carpal tunnel syndrome, then the surgery is recommended will be carpal tunnel release surgery. In case the muscles present in the wrist and hand become smaller, causing form the pinching of the nerve, surgery is the direct alternative.
Before the Procedure
Present and past medical conditions are thoroughly checked by the doctor. The presently using medicine, herbs or supplements might be instructed to stop. Drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, etc., should be stopped as the clotting of blood would be harder, because of them. Smoking also must be stopped. The patient has to get ready for the surgery and should not eat anything for at least 6 to 12 hours prior to the surgery.
The procedure of carpal tunnel release surgery starts with anesthesia or numbing medicine and so the patient does not feel the pain, while the surgery is being performed. The surgery starts with a cut made through the carpal ligament, so that enough space is found for the tendons and nerve. A surgical cut is then made over the palm, close to the wrist. Then the trasverse carpal ligament is then cut. It helps to ease the pressure present over the median nerve. In some cases, the tissue which is present around this nerve is also removed. Then finally the tissue and skin, present underneath would be stitched with sutures.
Some surgeries involve the usage of the tiny camera connected to the screen, to monitor. The inside part of the wrist can be better viewed on the screen by inserting this camera in the wrist. The instrument used in such cases is called endoscope and the surgery performed this way is called endoscopic surgery. The time taken for the surgery depends on how long the symptoms did appear, complexity of the damaged median nerve.
After the Procedure
This surgery is not a complicated and complex one and so it is performed as for outpatient basis. It needs stay in the hospital. After the surgery is completed, the wrist will be covered with heavy bandage and continued for at least one week. Motion exercises and programs related physical therapy are to be started after the bandage is removed.
Carpal tunnel release surgery can decrease the numbness, nerve tingling and pain. The muscle strength also will be restored.
Risks associated with the carpal tunnel release surgery could be
- Allergic reactions caused from medicine
- Numbness and weakness felt around the hand
- Scar sensitivity
- Injury happening to the median nerve or its branching nerves
Cost of Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
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