Carpal Tunnel Release

Carpel tunnel release is a surgery where the ligament covering the carpel tunnel is cut open.

  • Call Your Doctor


    After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
    • Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medicines you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
    • Pain that you cannot control with the medicines you have been given
    • Increased tingling or weakness in your hand
    • Fingers become extremely swollen, cool, or discolored
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain

    In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    Carpel tunnel release is a surgery where the ligament covering the carpel tunnel is cut open.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect


    Leading up to your procedure:


    • Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:

      • Aspirin
        or other anti-inflammatory drugs

      • Blood thinners, such as
        clopidogrel
        (Plavix) or
        warfarin
        (Coumadin)
    • Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
    • Arrange for help at home after the procedure.
    • The night before, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
    • You may be asked to shower the morning of your procedure.
    Endoscopic Release of Carpal Tunnel
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Reasons for Procedure


    The median nerve runs from the forearm into the hand.
    Carpal tunnel syndrome
    occurs when this nerve is squeezed at the wrist as it runs through the carpel tunnel. This results in pain, weakness, tingling, or numbness in your hand and wrist. Pain may also radiate up your arm.

    Carpal tunnel release is a surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve. The pressure is reduced by opening the ligament of the carpal tunnel. The ligament is called the transverse carpal ligament.


    Surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome is usually recommended in the following instances:

    • Other therapies have failed, including icing, splints or braces, anti-inflammatory medicines, steroid injections, physical therapy, or ultrasound.
    • There is shrinkage (atrophy) and weakness of the muscles controlling the thumb.
    • Studies of nerve functioning show the median nerve is not working properly.

  • Possible Complications


    Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have carpal tunnel release, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

    • Infection
    • Bleeding
    • Swelling
    • Scaring
    • Nerve damage
    • Stiffness of the fingers
    • Continued numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain


    Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:


    • Smoking or
      alcohol abuse
    • Diabetes
    • Taking steroid medicine for other conditions