Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Surgery

What is endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery, and why might it be needed?

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Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery is an effective way of treating carpal tunnel syndrome. This surgical procedure is generally recommended when other non-surgical methods have produced little effect.

If you have been suffering from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified orthopedic specialists at OrthoNeuro. Our doctors treat a variety of hand and wrist conditions. We have many convenient locations to choose from throughout Greater Columbus. 

What Is Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Surgery?

Endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist.

It utilizes an endoscope, which is a thin tube with a tiny camera on the end, inserted through small incisions in the wrist to allow the surgeon to view inside and identify areas of compression. The surgeon can then use specially designed instruments to cut away excess tissue that is compressing the nerve. This relieves pressure on the nerve, thus alleviating pain and improving function.

Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery can usually be performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning no overnight hospital stay is required. The procedure typically takes less than an hour, and patients can experience significant pain relief after just a few weeks of recovery time.

Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery has been shown to be effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome with minimal risk of long-term complications or scarring compared to open surgery.

Why Is Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Surgery Needed?

You will only need carpal tunnel release surgery if you have been given a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome does not necessarily mean that you will need carpal tunnel release surgery.

Your physicians will want to try to treat your condition using non-surgical methods first. This may include the use of medicines, physical therapy, steroid injections, or wrist splints.

Your doctor will consider carpal tunnel release surgery based on the following:

  • Non-surgical treatments have not helped relieve pain
  • A confirmed diagnosis through an electromyography test of the median nerve.
  • Your hand and wrist muscles have weakened because of the pinching on the median nerve
  • Symptoms have persisted for 6 months or more.

The risks associated with endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery are similar to the general risks associated with all surgical procedures. The following list contains some of those risks:

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Median nerve damage
  • Forming of sensitive scar tissue

There may be other risks depending on your medical condition. You will be able to discuss these with your doctor before the surgery.

How to Prepare for Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

There are several things you should consider before having carpal tunnel release surgery. The following list will help you to get prepared:

  • Tell your doctor about the medications you are taking.
  • Stop taking medications that make it difficult for blood to clot.
  • If you smoke, try quitting before the surgery, as this will help you to heal quicker.
  • You may need to undergo blood tests or an electrocardiogram (ECG) before surgery.
  • Don’t eat or drink 6 to 12 hours before surgery.

What Is the Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery Procedure?

Carpal tunnel surgery is an endoscopic surgery, meaning that it is minimally invasive, using an endoscope or small camera attached to a thin tube. The procedure will generally follow the sequence of events listed below.

  1. You will need to change into a hospital gown for the procedure.
  2. You will usually be given local anesthesia to numb the hand and wrist.
  3. Your doctor will make two half-inch incisions, one on the wrist and one on the palm. Then they will insert a camera attached to a narrow tube into one incision and the surgical instruments in the other. Guided by the camera, your doctor will cut the transverse carpal ligament.
  4. Once the procedure is completed, your surgeon will stitch up the incisions.
  5. Your hand and wrist will be bandaged and placed in a splint to immobilize your wrist. During this time, scar tissue will form on the cut ligament.

After a short period of observation, you will generally be allowed to go home after surgery.

What Is Recovery Like?

You will usually wear the bandage or splint for 1-2 weeks. Your doctor will make an appointment to remove it for you. You should move your fingers regularly to prevent them from becoming stiff.

You may have some postoperative pain. This can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. You can help reduce the swelling by raising your hand above your heart level while you sleep.

Once the splint or bandage has been removed, you will begin a physical therapy program. Exercises will be given to restore mobility and strength in your hand and wrist.

Total recovery time varies between several weeks and a few months. During this time, you may need to limit your use of your affected arm.

You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience the following:

  • Increased pain around the incision
  • Fever
  • Redness, bleeding, or swelling around the incision.

Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Specialist Today!

If you have been suffering the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified orthopedic and sports medicine specialists at OrthoNeuro. We have many locations throughout Columbus, OH for your convenience.

Best of all, most patients can be seen within 24 hours of making an appointment. Contact us today to learn about the advantages of endoscopic surgery for carpal tunnel.

Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Specialists

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