Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that causes tingling, numbness, and sometimes pain in your hand and fingers. It happens when your median nerve becomes compressed at the narrow passage in your wrist, called your carpal tunnel.
What is a carpal tunnel syndrome?
CTS is a pressure on your median nerve, a main nerve that runs from your forearm into the palm of your hand, in your wrist as it passes through your carpal tunnel passageway.
It is caused by the tendons that pass through your narrow and rigid carpal tunnel becoming swollen so that your nerve has less space and is squeezed, entrapped and sometimes injured.
The effects of carpal tunnel syndrome often start slowly and come and go, often getting worse at night. They include:
• Pain in your hand, finger or arm
• Numbness in your hand
• Tingly thumb and fingers
• Weak thumb
• Hand clumsiness, difficulty gripping and a loss of your manual dexterity.
CTS is a common problem, with individuals who perform strenuous and repetitive hand and wrist motions being more at risk. Carpal tunnel syndrome prevention methods may include:
• Keeping your wrists straight as much as possible, when working, sleeping, doing repetitive activities and, when using tools.
• Relaxing your grasp, reducing forceful pinching and, avoiding flexing and extending your wrists.
• Taking frequent breaks from repetitive activities.
• Performing stretching exercises before and after activities.
• Keeping your hands warm and flexible.
What are the benefits of a carpal tunnel surgery?
Carpal tunnel surgery is wrist surgery that aims to relieve your symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome such as: pain, numbness and, tingling in your hand, as well as increasing your hands function so that you can use it fully again.
What does the operation of a carpal tunnel surgery involve?
Carpal tunnel release surgery, also known as carpal tunnel decompression, is typically an outpatient procedure performed in twenty minutes under local anaesthetic.
This wrist surgery can be performed by open or keyhole surgery. Your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss the most appropriate option for you.
During open surgery, a single cut approximately 5cm long is made in the front of your wrist at the base of your palm. The carpal ligament in the roof of your carpal tunnel is then cut to relieve the pressure on the median nerve in your wrist.
For keyhole surgery, your hand surgeon will make a smaller cut of about 2cm long in your forearm just above your wrist, or in your palm. They will pass a thin, flexible telescope, called an endoscope through the incision so that they can see inside your wrist. The carpal ligament will then be cut using tiny instruments and pressure on your median nerve as it passes through your carpal tunnel passage will be reduced.
What conditions may lead to needing a carpal tunnel surgery?
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and non-surgical treatments haven’t been successful then carpal tunnel surgery may be recommended. If there is a chance of permanent nerve damage from your carpal tunnel syndrome, then your hand and wrist surgeon will recommend surgery.
Cost of a carpal tunnel surgery
If you decide to pay for your treatment, Ramsay offer an all-inclusive Total Care package, where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price, delivering direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance. You can also spread the cost of your treatment with finance options available.
A carpal tunnel surgery may be covered by your medical insurance policy. We advise you to check directly with your insurance provider and get written confirmation before commencing treatment.
How soon will I recover after a carpal tunnel surgery?
You will usually go home the same day of your surgery.
Initially you can start to use your hand for light tasks such as holding a glass and you will gradually build up your tasks. Your grip should return to normal after six to twelve weeks following your procedure.
You can drive again when it’s safe to do so. This is when you can grip and control the steering wheel properly and perform an emergency stop.
When you return to work will depend on your job and its requirements.
It’s best to follow your surgeon’s advice regarding your recovery and timings.
A full recovery can take six to twelve weeks.
Carpal tunnel surgery with Ramsay
Ramsay Health Care offers patients rapid access to diagnosis and treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel surgery is performed by our expert orthopaedic surgeons with a special interest in hands and wrists.
We aim to offer you the local best care for your carpal tunnel surgery. Contact us now to book your appointment.