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Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

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Why would I need carpal tunnel release surgery?

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you will likely experience pain or numbness in your hands and/or fingers because of pressure that is being put on a nerve in your wrist.

What symptoms carpal tunnel release surgery address?

After surgery, you can expect to have relief from the pain or numbness in your hand or fingers that was being caused by your carpal tunnel syndrome.

When should you speak to your specialist about carpal tunnel release surgery?

If your carpal tunnel syndrome hasn’t gotten better over a few months and the symptoms of the condition are bothering you, it might be time to speak to your specialist about the possibility of undergoing carpal tunnel release surgery.

How is carpal tunnel release surgery performed?

Carpal tunnel release surgery takes about 20 minutes and is generally done under local anaesthetic but can also be done under general anaesthetic.

During the procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision into your hand and they will then cut the transverse carpal ligament, which is in your wrist, so pressure can be taken off the nerve.

What is the recovery for carpal tunnel release surgery?

The recovery from carpal tunnel release surgery can depend on a variety of factors, and you should discuss this with your surgeon.

Most people find that they are unable to fully resume all of their normal day-to-day activities for about a month after their operation.

You and your surgeon will discuss your plan for recovery prior to your carpal tunnel release surgery.

Are there any risks/complications associated with carpal tunnel release surgery?

As with any medical procedure, it is possible for risks or complications to arise. It is best that you speak with your specialist or surgeon about how best to avoid any adverse reactions.

Some complications that have been associated with the procedure are:

  • Scars that are sensitive or tender
  • Pain in your hand
  • Nerve damage
  • Highly visible tendons (known as bowstringing)
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Your carpal tunnel syndrome returns
  • Infection
  • Stiffness and swelling
  • Damage to blood vessels

How can I prepare for carpal tunnel release surgery?

Prior to your carpal tunnel release surgery, you should discuss the preparations you should make with your surgeon, as they can vary depending on the person.

Are there alternatives for carpal tunnel release surgery?

There are alternative treatment options that you can explore prior to undergoing carpal tunnel release surgery, including:

  • Eliminating or cutting down on activities that might be causing carpal tunnel syndrome (e.g. certain repetitive tasks or using vibrating tools for work)
  • Hand exercises (as directed by your specialist)
  • Wearing a wrist splint
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medication
  • Steroid injections
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