Sometimes you get inflammation or swelling in this tunnel, trapping or pinching the nerve. This is carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel can cause numbness or tingling in your palm or weakness in your hand, making it difficult to grip or pick up things. Repetitive movements like typing on a computer can cause this condition; however, other times it is simply genetics and based on your anatomy.
Two Types of Surgery: Open or Endoscopic Release
Two types of surgery can be done to fix this condition: open or endoscopic release. An open release is more common.
In the open-release surgery, an incision is made perpendicular to the wrist and the ligament band covering the carpal tunnel (on the palm side of the wrist) is released, allowing more space for the nerve.
In the endoscopic release, your surgeon makes two smaller incisions at your wrist. Through one incision, an endoscope or small surgical camera is placed into your wrist. Through the second incision, a surgical tool is used to release the ligament.
Both surgeries have similar recovery times, getting you back to your desired activities in two to six weeks. Depending on the severity of nerve damage, it can take up to a year before you reach maximum recovery of sensation in your hand. Even after surgery, sometimes full sensation never returns, which is why it’s important to be evaluated sooner rather than later.
After either procedure, stitches are used to close your incision(s) and the site is covered with a bulky bandage. Typically, you can remove the bandaging 24-48 hours after surgery and are allowed to bathe; however, the hand should not be soaked in water.
Your stitches will be removed 10-14 days after surgery when you meet with a Physician Assistant or your surgeon to review what was found during your surgery. At that time, you are able to use the hand as tolerated, though the incision may be sore for up to a few months. Your surgeon will outline any post-surgery restrictions.