Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it moves through a narrow, confined space in the wrist. The nerve compression can cause pain, discomfort, and numbness in the hand and forearm. Furthermore, permanent nerve damage may occur over time. Fortunately, carpal tunnel syndrome is treatable.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery?
The pressure on the meridian nerve can be relieved through a procedure known as carpal tunnel release or carpal tunnel surgery. The surgery involves cutting sections of ligaments to enlarge the size of the tunnel and relieve pressure on the median nerve. Carpal tunnel surgery is carried out using two techniques:
- Endoscopic Surgery: The surgeon creates one or two incisions on the palm or wrist. An endoscope with a camera is inserted through this incision to guide the surgeon during surgery. The surgeon may also use tools to protect the nerves within the wrist. The surgeon will then cut ligaments to relieve pressure on the median nerve.
- Open Surgery: This method involves making an incision on the palm to access the ligaments in your wrist. A ligament will be cut to help release pressure on your nerve. The surgeon can also remove scar tissues pressing on your median nerve.
When Carpal Tunnel Surgery Is Necessary
In most cases, your doctor will initially prescribe non-surgical treatments such as over-the-counter pain medications, steroid shots, physical therapy, changes to equipment used at work, and wrist splints to relieve pain and swelling. However, these methods may not offer the relief you’re looking for. Typically, your doctor will recommend carpal tunnel surgery because of the following reasons:
- Non-surgical interventions failed to relieve pain or swelling.
- The doctor conducts an electromyography test of your median nerve and confirms you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
- The symptoms of the disease have lasted for six months or more without any relief.
- The hand and wrist muscles are weak and are getting smaller because of the severe pinching of your median nerve.
It’s important to see your doctor if you suspect you may be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome to avoid any permanent nerve damage.
Preparing for Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Your surgeon will advise you on preparing for carpal tunnel surgery. You may be instructed not to drink or eat anything after midnight on your surgery day. Your surgeon will also discuss any medicines you need to take or avoid before your surgery. Ensure that you plan on having someone who can drive you