Carpal Tunnel Surgery – An Overview
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition caused by increased pressure on the nerve in your wrist. This nerve runs in a tight tunnel together with the tendons that bend the fingers.
If carpal tunnel inside your wrist swells and squeezes one of your nerves, this can compress the nerve usually causing pain, tingling, numbness in the fingers, hand or arm. These symptoms can start gradually and are typically worse at night.
Do You Need Carpal Tunnel Surgery?
If your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is getting worse and other treatments have not worked, your GP can refer you to a specialist consultant to discuss surgery.
The decision whether carpal tunnel syndrome surgery is the best treatment for you will be decided between you and your consultant.
At Kingsbridge Private Hospital we ensure you are in the best possible care. Our surgeon will explain how to prepare for your carpal tunnel surgery.
What Are The Benefits of Carpal Tunnel Surgery?
The main benefit of carpal tunnel surgery is to relieve the pain, tingling and numbness in the hand.
Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery Painful?
As with any surgery a certain degree of pain is to be expected. However, the cut is small and usually not very painful. This will be controlled with medication.
What Happens During Carpal Tunnel Surgery?
A local anaesthetic injection numbs your wrist, so you do not feel pain and a small cut is made in your hand. The surgeon will then carpal tunnel inside your wrist is cut so it no longer puts pressure on the nerve. The wound is then closed, and a firm dressing applied. The operation takes approximately 20 minutes. There is no need for an overnight stay in hospital overnight and you will be able to leave within a few hours after the surgery.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Carpal Tunnel Surgery?
After returning home from surgery you should keep you hand elevated and bandaged for the first few days. Exercising your fingers, elbow and shoulders will help prevent stiffness.
After the first few days the dressing can be removed but it is important to keep the wound area dry and clean until the stitches are removed. Your post-surgery review will take place approximately 6 -10 weeks after your surgery.
It usually takes 3 to 4 months to recover and up to 1 year before hand strength returns. When you can return to work will depend on the type of surgery you had, whether the surgery was on your dominant hand and your type of work.
Risks & Complications of Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Our healthcare team will reassure you about any concerns you might have and will endeavour to make your procedure as safe as possible. As with all surgical operations there are risks and possible complications.
Complications may include, but are not limited to:
- As with any operation there is potential for infection in the wound. This will usually settle with antibiotics but may require further surgery.
- Scarring – the incision will typically be made within one of the wrist creases and usually becomes invisible over time.
- Approximately 1% of patients will experience temporary numbness in the fingers or palm
- Any tenderness of the scar area will typically settle in around six weeks.
- Some patients, around 4%, experience aching in the wrist when using the hand.
Approximately 5% of patients may experience some return of the numbness and pain caused by scar tissue. In these instances a further operation to release the nerve may be needed.
Very rarely do patients experience severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the hand. In such cases further treatment, pain relief and physiotherapy may be required.
If you would like to book an appointment or require further information on the available options, please do not hesitate to contact our private patient booking team via our online enquiry form.
Alternatively, email Kingsbridge Private Hospital