CARPAL TUNNEL DECOMPRESSION

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a relatively common condition that causes pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers. Usually, these sensations develop gradually and start off being worse during the night. They tend to affect the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger.

Other symptoms of CTS include pins and needles (paraesthesia), thumb weakness, a dull ache in the hand or arm.

Surgery is usually only recommended for severe cases of CTS when symptoms last for more than six months or other treatments have not been effective. Surgery for CTS is known as Carpal Tunnel Decompression or Carpal Tunnel Release and is performed on an outpatient basis, which means you will not have to stay in hospital overnight.

During surgery the roof of the carpal tunnel, known as the carpal ligament, is cut to reduce pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. A local anaesthetic is used to numb your hand and wrist but you will remain awake throughout the operation. The surgery is performed at N2S as open surgery, which involves making a single cut in the wrist and is the traditional type of operation.

Following your surgery your hand will remain in a bandage and you will need to wear a sling for 48 hours. Keeping your arm raised in the sling will help reduce any swelling and stiffness in your fingers. You will be shown exercises for your fingers and thumb, which will need to be performed frequently to avoid any stiffness. Other instructions will be included in your post-operative instruction pack, which will be handed out on the day of your surgery.

There are alternative treatments, which will be discussed during an initial assessment appointment with your consultant. They may offer you a steroid injection during this assessment, if they feel this is an appropriate treatment for your condition.