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Carpal Tunnel Release

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed within the carpal tunnel region of the wrist.  There are many causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.  Conservative management with splinting and anti-inflammatories should be tried for at least 6 weeks before deciding of surgical intervention.  Depending on the extent, severity, and degree of nerve compression, this disorder may not improve without surgery.  Surgery is performed to relieve symptoms associated with median nerve compression and to prevent the loss of hand function.  Hand rehabilitation after surgery may be necessary.  There are several different methods of performing carpal tunnel surgery.  Your surgeon will discuss the various alternative surgical procedures.  Carpal tunnel release is usually done one hand at a time to leave you one hand free to work with.  We usually do the more symptomatic hand first.

What pain will I have?

Mild to Moderate

What will it cost?

Insurance benefits will be verified, and you will be notified of the amount of any deductibles, out of pocket expenses, etc.

What is the hospital/surgery center time?

Surgery will be approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour as determined on a case by case basis.  Typically this is done as an outpatient procedure.

What is the recovery?

Sutures are typically removed between 10-14 days after surgery.  Most people return to light duty work a week after surgery, and regular duty work 2-3 weeks after surgery.  You typically have a splint for the first week after surgery.  No swimming until 4 weeks after surgery.  Physical therapy may speed recovery.  Scars will flatten and fade between 3 months and 2 years after surgery.

What are the risks?

The risks of a carpal tunnel release include bleeding, infection, scarring, hematoma, seroma, nerve/vessel/tendon injury, poor use of hand, failure to improve symptoms, recurrence, asymmetry, poor cosmesis, dehiscence, need for further surgery, pain/tenderness, cardiac/pulmonary/stroke/DVT/PE events, death, etc.