Do you work in a profession that requires repetitive movement? Have you developed the dreaded tingling sensation in your thumb and fingers? If so, it may be time to consider carpal tunnel release surgery. At Lake Country Plastic and Hand Surgery in Milwaukee, WI, Dr. Tracy E. McCall performs the procedure using minimally invasive hand surgery techniques. If carpal tunnel syndrome is left untreated, it can lead to permanent nerve damage. It is crucial to attend an evaluation by an experienced physician whenever symptoms emerge.
What is the Carpal Tunnel?
Within the carpal tunnel, there are ligaments, tendons, and bones that connect the hand to the wrist. The median nerve is also located inside this space and provides feeling and sensation to the fingers and thumb.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Pain?
Most people have heard that individuals who work at a computer all day are more prone to carpal tunnel problems. Many times, this is due to the poor positioning of the hands while typing. Constructions workers are also predisposed to this condition. For example, using the wrists and hands to operate power tools exposes these areas to intense vibrations from the machinery. Eventually, this can lead to excess stress on the wrists and hands.
When inflammation occurs in the tissues and tendons of the carpal tunnel, it places excess pressure on the median nerve, resulting in the pain that is often associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Sensations typically begin as tingling or numbness, and slowly progresses to pain or discomfort. In some cases, patients develop difficulty using the affected hand at all. If your symptoms reach this point, it is time to consider carpal tunnel release surgery.
What Happens during the Procedure?
Patients who undergo carpal tunnel release surgery typically do not require general anesthesia, although it can be provided if necessary. For your comfort, local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area. The procedure can be performed using endoscopic methods or traditional surgery with an incision. No matter which method is used, the transverse ligament will be divided, which will relieve pressure on the median nerve. In most cases, carpal tunnel release surgery can be completed in less than one hour as an outpatient procedure.
Healing and Recovery
As with any surgical procedure, some level of discomfort and swelling is to be expected. This can usually be managed with a combination of anti-inflammatory medications and prescription pain medication, if necessary. For about one week, the surgical site will be bandaged. You may be asked to sleep with your hand in an elevated position to reduce swelling and inflammation.
At a post-operative appointment, usually about one week later, the bandages and splint will be removed and you will begin physical therapy. This process will promote healing and improve your flexibility as you recover. It is important to understand that no two patients are alike and healing times can vary for each individual. Some may be feeling better in a matter of days while others may need a few weeks. In most cases, patients require several months of healing before their full range of motion returns.
Dr. Mc Call can help you determine how much time you may need off work for recovery. Knowing what to expect can help alleviate anxiety about the procedure and help you better prepare.
Learn More about Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, consider making an appointment with Dr. McCall. She can help you establish the cause of your condition and determine an appropriate treatment option for you. To schedule a consultation, contact us using our online form.