Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where there is increased pressure on a nerve that crosses the front of your wrist (the median nerve).
The median nerve runs through a tight tunnel on the front of your wrist, together with the tendons that bend your fingers.
If the tunnel becomes too tight it can cause pressure on the nerve, usually resulting in pain or numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers.
If your symptoms are mild, a wrist support worn at night often helps.
A steroid injection near the carpal tunnel can reduce the numbness or pain in most people but the symptoms usually come back after several weeks or months.
The operation can usually be performed under a local anaesthetic and usually takes about 20 minutes.
A small cut is made on the palm of your hand to expose the tight ligament (the flexor retinaculum) that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel. This ligament is released, and this stops the nerve being compressed.
You should be able to go home the same day. We have developed the capability to do this procedure in outpatients which enables us to do this procedure without the stress of going into theatres and a much quicker recovery. This also enables the surgery to be more affordable for the patients who have no private insurance.
Keep your hand raised and bandaged for 2 days. It is important to gently exercise your fingers, elbow and shoulder to prevent stiffness.
Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible.
Your symptoms may continue to improve for up to 6 months.
What complications can happen?
General complications of any operation
- Scarring of your skin
- Infection of the surgical site (wound)
- Complex regional pain syndrome
Specific complications of this operation
- Numbness in your thumb, index and middle fingers
- Tenderness of the scar
- Aching in your wrist
- Return of numbness and pain
- Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of your hand