Carpal Tunnel Release



Carpal Tunnel syndrome is when the there is excessive pressure on the median nerve. When this happen, the hand can get the feeling of numbness, tingling, weakness or muscle damage in the hand and fingers.

The median nerve is the part that provides feeling and movement to the thumb side of the hand including the palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger and thumb side of the ring finger. The nerve enters from the wrist which is the part called carpal tunnel, which is normally narrow. Any swelling will pinch the nerve and cause pain and this is when the numb, tingling, pain and weak feeling comes, known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

In some cases, small carpal tunnel were developed at birth while other times, it can be caused by overly repetitive motion with the hands and wrists. Using hand tools with vibration can also cause carpal tunnel.

Tendinitis or bursitis in the hand can narrow the carpal tunnel and lead to the symptoms. It usually occurs to people between the ages of 30 to 60 and is more common in women than men.

Other factors that may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Bone fractures and arthritis of the wrist
  • Cyst or tumor that grows in the wrist
  • Infections
  • Obesity
  • Extra fluids stored in the body during pregnancy or menopause
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

How to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome
The carpal tunnel is narrow, so any swelling can pinch the nerve and cause pain. The surgery involves cutting of the traverse carpal ligament, the thick ligament just under the skin, which will release the pressure on the median nerve. After the ligament is cut, the skin is closed with stitches and the gap where the cut is, is left alone as scar tissue will fill it up eventually.

Carpal tunnel release surgery is done as an outpatient surgery under local anesthesia.

What to expect of the procedure?
The hand wound will be stitched up and will be removed about two weeks later. The hand will be able to regain sense of feel right after the procedure, but it is advised to avoid heavy use of the hand for at least three months.