Carpal tunnel surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed in the U.S., and for good reason: According to the American College of Rheumatology, as many as 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a painful hand and wrist condition that interferes with normal hand and finger function and can cause permanent muscle weakness (atrophy) if it’s not treated promptly. Carpal tunnel surgery uses special techniques to treat the underlying cause of CTS for optimal relief of pain and other symptoms.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the main nerve that passes through your wrist (called the median nerve) is “pinched” as it passes through the narrow “tunnel” formed by the bones, tendons and ligaments at the wrist joint. Most often, CTS occurs when the tendons around the nerve become irritated and swollen as a result of repetitive movements and strain on the joint. As the tendons swell, the press on the nerve, causing symptoms like numbness, pain or weakness in your palm, thumb, or first three fingers, areas served by the median nerve.
While many people associate CTS with occupations that involve a lot of repetitive hand or finger movements like assembly work or typing, it can also be caused by injuries or underlying medical problems like rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, cysts or tumors.
What is carpal tunnel surgery?
Carpal tunnel surgery is focused on enlarging the space around the median nerve to eliminate nerve compression. During the procedure, the surgeon severs a ligament in the wrist to “make room” for the nerve. The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, which means you won’t need to stay overnight in a hospital.
There are two basic approaches to carpal tunnel surgery:
- Open surgery, which uses an incision about two inches long to access the ligament
- Endoscopic surgery, which uses two very small incisions and a special scope equipped with a tiny camera to see inside the joint and perform the ligament release
The method that’s used with your surgery will depend on your wrist anatomy and other factors.
As the area heals, the ligaments usually “knit” back together, leaving more space for the nerve pathway. Your wrist and hand will continue to function normally following surgery, but you might need exercises to help restore grip strength.
Schedule an evaluation today.
Carpal tunnel syndrome rarely resolves on its own, and without prompt medical treatment, you could lose your normal ability to grip or move your fingers. Franklin Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine is a leading provider of carpal tunnel surgery for patients in and around Franklin, Tennessee. Our team works closely with each patient to ensure they receive the best and most effective treatment solutions for long-term symptom relief and better overall health and function in the wrist and hand. To learn more about carpal tunnel surgery or to have your wrist pain evaluated, call Franklin Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine at (615)-771-1116 and schedule a visit today.