If you have carpal tunnel pain that persists for at least 6 months and have tried several other treatment options to no avail, then it should be time to consider carpal tunnel surgery.
Wrist Surgery Procedures
There are two types of surgery – endoscopic and open. Endoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive technique. A small incision is made at the wrist and then an endoscope, a scope which the surgeon can see inside the body with, is inserted into the incision to perform the surgery. Open surgery requires a large incision and completely opens up the wrist so the doctor can see and perform the surgery directly. Both are effective, but the endoscopic approach has the advantage of an easier recovery period afterwards.
To carry out the carpal tunnel surgery, an incision is made at the bottom of the hand. The doctor will cut the transverse carpal ligament next. This will relieve pressure put on the median nerve, which should purge the symptoms of CTS. Afterwards, the cut is stitched up and that is the end of the surgery. The procedure itself should be about an hour long. Because it is a relatively short procedure and only pertains to the wrist, only localized anesthesia is needed, which significantly hastens the time required before the hospital can release you, as well as avoids the risks of using general anesthesia.
For those interested in seeing an endoscopic procedure, see the video below.
NOTE: The following video is very graphic and should only be watched at your own discretion.
After the surgery, the patient may feel a temporary decrease in grip strength and movement. The stitches in the hand are removed after about 2 weeks. Additionally, a wrist splint may be necessary for a few weeks. The length of time that passes before one can engage in strenuous activities, such as work, is usually about two or more weeks. However, the time that passes before the full range of motion and strength come back in the wrist can range anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief
Fortunately, the symptoms vanish and the pain relief is felt almost immediately after surgery. It is estimated that about 70% of people are satisfied with the results, and 90% experience no night pain the day of the surgery. There are some cases where the pain lingers and takes significant time to heal. Rarely, there have been times where symptoms return, or there is a significant drop off in strength.
Overall, carpal tunnel surgery is a very safe and simple procedure. It has a very high success rate, where cases of nerve damage and other complications are very rare. If you have consistent problems with CTS lasting at least 6 months and want to explore more options for carpal tunnel pain relief, be sure to contact your doctor about the possibility of surgery.