Minimally Invasive Surgery for Carpal Tunnel
Carpal tunnel is a common issue for people and it can cause a lot of discomfort in the hand and wrist. If you are one of the millions of people that live with carpal tunnel syndrome, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. It can cause numbness and can really interfere with daily activities as it affects the overall strength of your hand and sensation. It can be treated with medications and steroid injections, but for serious cases, surgery may be necessary. Minimally invasive endoscopic surgery can be very effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome, putting patients back on track toward regular, pain free living.
How does the surgery work?
This type of surgery uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached at the end. This is called an endoscope. This is guided through a small incision in the wrist or at the wrist and palm. The camera allows the doctor to see the interior structure of the wrist without a huge incision. The doctor uses a small cutting tool that cuts the transverse carpal ligament, which releases pressure on the median nerve. This will give most patients a lot of relief from the pain and other symptoms associated with carpal tunnel. Then, the incision is closed with stitches, and it will heal up over time. It is a simple procedure and most patients can go home the same day.
Is it effective?
Most people that have this surgery for carpal tunnel experience great results and have fewer to no symptoms of pain and numbness in the affected hand after the surgery is completed. In rarer cases, symptoms can return and there may be temporary loss of strength. If the hand or thumb muscles were already weakened or severely deteriorated before surgery, the surgery may not restore complete function. Of course, all surgeries come with potential risks, but fortunately this surgery is not very invasive and the complication rates and risks are low. Nerve damage can be a risk as well as damage to tendons or blood vessels.
Are you a candidate?
If you think you’re a candidate for endoscopic surgery, talk to your doctor. It is critical to find a surgeon that is experienced with endoscopic carpal tunnel release, and to be sure that your specific case can be improved with this particular procedure. There are a variety of options available for people living with carpal tunnel syndrome and surgery isn’t always the right answer. Be sure to discuss your symptoms, treatment options, and weigh the risks and benefits before making a decision.
Sara Thompson is a health and lifestyle writer who has had articles published on Healthline, ehealthMD, BrainWorld, and other online publications. This article was written in collaboration with Dr. Todd Kuether of Kuether Brain & Spine.