A common condition of the hand and wrist, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) caused by compression of the median nerve of the wrist can greatly inhibit patient’s quality of life. As the median nerve in the wrist inflames after aggravated repetitive movements, patient’s often lose simple dexterity and hand function. Examples of this repetitive motion include typing on a keyboard, talking on the phone (holding phone to the ear), texting or playing the piano. High risk professions such as Professional artists (sculptors, printmakers, violinists), truck drivers, and power tool operators can experience Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at more frequent rates.
Symptons of CTS range from mild to debilitating:
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), carpal tunnel release is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the US. Women develop carpal tunnel syndrome three times more frequently than men. It usually occurs only in adults.
Early diagnosis can prove critical in mitigating pain from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Often times, nonoperative treatments such as splinting, anti-inflammatory medications, and injections can reduce swelling and alleviate most of the symptoms. In the event that your specialist recommends surgical intervention, over 95% of patients (AANS) recover without ever experiencing a recurrence of their symptons.
As a neurological condition, CTS often has symptoms similar to those seen with other conditions, such as cervical spondylosis or ischemic or neoplastic intracranial disease. Hence, patients with CTS are sometimes referred to a neurosurgeon.
The most common surgical operation for CTS, Carpal tunnel release, is performed using an open incision or endoscopic technique. The specialist thru a small incision opens the wrist and releases pressure off of the ligament at the bottom of the wrist. The endoscopic carpal tunnel release procedure involves making a smaller incision and using a miniaturized camera to assist the neurosurgeon in viewing the exact place of the pressure causing the carpal tunnel.
After surgery, the hand will remain dressed until the patient’s first office visit following surgery. 10-14 days later, the specialist will remove the stitches. Patients should follow all healthcare directives and avoid repetitive use of the hand for four weeks post-operatively and avoid getting the stitches wet.