Carpal Tunnel Surgery

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Carpal Tunnel Decompression:  aka Carpal Tunnel Surgery

 

 

 

What it is?
Carpal tunnel decompression is the surgical procedure that is performed to relieve pressure on a nerve that is located in a patient’s carpal tunnel.  This is an area which is in the wrist that supplies the fingers with nerve function. 

 

 

Carpal tunnel syndrome is something that is becoming more popular as people are working on computers. It often is associated with people who are secretaries or have other occupations that require them to do the same movements with their hands over and over again.

 

It’s something that has become a workman’s compensation issue and that many men and women who work in the office are finding that they having to deal with.  Many companies are providing special keyboards and computer mice for their employees so that it becomes less of a problem.

 

 

 

The Operation
There are two ways that the surgery may be performed, either in the fashion that is more traditional or endoscopically.  When using the traditional surgical method, the surgeon makes an incision in the palm of the patient’s hand.  This exposes the structures. When the surgery is performed with an endoscope, the incision that is made in the patient’s wrist or palm, and is smaller than a traditional surgical incision.  In either technique, there is entry made into the patient’s carpal tunnel, and the tissue which is known as the transverse carpal tunnel is cut.  This will halt the compression on the patient’s median nerve.  Extreme care is taken to make sure that the surgery doesn’t damage the nerves or other structures in the anatomy.  The recent reports of comparisons show that the endoscopic surgery is just as good or better than the open surgery. 

 

 

 

 

Alternatives to surgery

The patient may be put through other types of treatment, using the surgery as a last resort.  The patient’s doctor will suggest that they reduce the amount of activity that will aggravate the condition, if the patient can’t stop it all together.  They may be given medication to reduce the inflammation, they may try using a brace or a splint in order to hold their wrist in a position that is neutral, or they may be given physical therapy exercises to try.

Some other patients have been able to fix their carpal tunnel syndrome with the use of acupuncture. 

 

 

 

Before the Surgery

 

The surgeon will advise the patient of the steps to take prior to surgery such as when to stop drinking and eating the night or day prior to surgery. It is also customary to have blood work done to ensure that the patient will be healthy enough to endure anesthesia during the surgery.

 

 

 

After the surgery - In the hospital
This type of surgery is done as an outpatient and before the patient is released the medical staff will make sure that there is good circulation in the fingers and hands of the patient.  The patient should have a strong pulse in their wrist, and the fingers of the hand that was affected should have normal color and they should be warm when they are touched. The patient should be able to move their fingers equally and there should not be any swelling.

 

 

 

 

After the operation - At home
After the patient has been discharged, they need to keep an eye out for complications.  If the patient has any of these symptoms, they need to contact their surgeon: fever, bluish or pale color on the operated hand, cold feeling to the touch, difficulty or inability to move the fingers on the operated hand, numbness, bleeding, and swelling. The patient may wear a splint for a month in order to keep the affected wrist in a position that is neutral.  The patient may also be given exercises that are designed to strengthen and stretch the wrist, fingers, and the hand. 

 

 

The person will be informed about when they can return to work and to normal activities that they are used to.

 

 

 

Possible Complications
There are not a lot of complications that are associated with this type of surgery, but there are a few.  The possible complications are as follows:

 

Infection
Anaesthesia problems
Nerve damage

 

 

 

General Advice


Whether a patient will achieve a full recovery depends on a few factors.  The most important factor is whether or not there was permanent damage to the tissue fibers or nerves.  If the muscles atrophied due to the length of time that the condition was left untreated, then a full recovery is highly unlikely.  If there isn’t any permanent damage, then the patient can expect a full recovery.  Recovery takes around six to eight weeks. The patient may find that occupational rehabilitation will take another month.   When the condition is work related, it will need to be addressed before person can return to work.

 

 

 

Estimated Costs for Carpal Tunnel Surgery

 

Country Estimated Cost
USA $5000-10000
India $1200
Malaysia $2500-3000
Singapore $3000-5000
Thailand $11,000

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