Carpal Tunnel Release

What is carpal tunnel release?

When nonsurgical methods have failed to relieve pain, pins and needles, and numbness caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor may recommend carpal tunnel release, a surgical procedure that relieves pressure on the median nerve.

The carpal ligament stretches from one side of the palm to the other, creating a "tunnel" space underneath. In some people, the carpal tunnel is particularly small, an inherited characteristic that runs in families. The ligament may become swollen due to a sprain or other type of injury, or by repetitive use of a vibrating tool, such as power tool used by construction workers. Pregnant women may be more likely to experience carpal tunnel syndrome due to excess fluid in the body that causes pressure on the nerves. 

By making a small incision (cut) or several small cuts in the palm of the hand, the surgeon is able to "release" the pressure caused by the swollen ligament and allow the nerves and tendons that pass through the tunnel space to pass more easily, thus relieving pressure and pain.

Carpal tunnel release is only considered after other nonsurgical approaches have been tried, such as physical therapy and medication. If you do opt for this type of surgery, you can expect a recovery time of several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of your condition and your body's own ability to regain strength and mobility. After surgery you will also wear a splint to stabilize the area and minimize agitation to the surgical site and surrounding nerves. Physical therapy and medication can also help your recovery.



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