Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will affect 2% of the male population and 3% of the female population over the course of their lifetimes. The typical age of someone affected by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is 55.
You may be suffering from CTS without even realizing it. Do your hands tingle often? Do you feel a radiating pain in your arms in your hands — especially at work? Have you noticed weakness in your arm and hand? That you cannot grip objects like before?
If the answer to these questions is, “Yes,” you may suffer from CTS. It is a progressive condition that can begin as a minor inconvenience and become a major issue in short order.
CTS is caused by pressure applied to the median nerve, that’s why it causes a radiating pain throughout the arm. There are non-surgical methods to relieve the pain, but in the event these do not work, Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery is an option.
Surgery is not always the best option. There are other methods to relieve the symptoms of CTS. Over the counter anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or aspirin can relieve pain, as well as the tried and true ice pack. Your physician can recommend a steroid or cortisone shot in the affected area.
Physical therapy may also help. Most physicians tell patients to refrain from the repetitive activities (like typing). These can make CTS worse and prevent recovery. Some doctors may ask that you wear a splint to give your median nerve time to relax and heal.
In the event that non-surgical methods don’t work, your doctor will perform an electromyogram (EMG) to assess the level of electrical activity in your muscles. Abnormal electrical activity correlates with CTS.
There are currently two types of Carpal Tunnel Surgery: Open Carpal Tunnel Release and Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release.
With Open Carpal Tunnel release surgery, the surgeon makes a small incision near the bottom of your palm, near your wrist. Then, he cuts the carpal ligament and relieves the pressure on the median nerve. He then closes the wound with a few stitches and a bandage.
With Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release, the surgeon makes a small incision at the bottom of your palm, near your wrist, and inserts an endoscope, a long flexible tube with a light and camera. This allows the surgeon to see what is going on in your wrist. He will use other tools to clean out your wrist and cut the carpal ligament to relieve pressure on median nerve.
Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery is an outpatient procedure, but there is a recovery period. You will likely be asked to wear a splint for the first week after surgery. You will also be prescribed pain medication and a schedule regarding icing your wrist to reduce swelling and pain.
How long it will take you to recover depends on how damaged the median nerve was. So, the earlier you can catch it the better.
Considering Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery? Call Outpatient Services East at 205-838-3888 to schedule a consultation. We are happy to help in any way we can.