Table of Contents

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel develops when the median nerve in your wrist becomes compressed. Your median nerve is involved with muscle movements and sensations in your fingers and hand. The median nerve starts in your upper arm and runs through your forearm before ending in your hand. As the median nerve passes through your wrist, it travels through an area called the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a group of ligaments, tendons, and bones. If the carpal tunnel swells, there’s less room for your median nerve. This narrowing leads to constriction of your median nerve and impacts your hand and finger functionCarpal tunnel can occur in anyone but happens more frequently in women, as well as those who work frequently with computers, vibrating hand tools, or whose job requires repetitive wrist motions. Injuries to the wrist, such as fractures, can also lead to compression of the median nerve and contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. 

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel causes a variety of symptoms, especially in your thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers. It’s common to experience:

  • Tingling, numbness, and pain
  • Difficulty grasping things
  • Clumsiness or weakness in your thumb

Many people find that their carpal tunnel symptoms worsen in cool temperatures, in the evening, or during certain activities. You might also drop things more frequently.

If you’re suffering from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome that don’t respond to conservative treatments like steroid injections and pain relievers, your doctor at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery might recommend surgical options, like carpal tunnel release, to address your condition.

What is carpal tunnel release?

Carpal tunnel release surgery creates more room for the median nerve and tendons to move through the carpal tunnel. This outpatient procedure can relieve pain and restore function to your hand and finger.

There are two primary approaches to carpal tunnel release surgery. The traditional method, open carpal tunnel release, requires a large skin incision, as well as several subcutaneous incisions to expose the median nerve. Instead, our surgeons possess the specialized equipment and expertise required to focus exclusively on minimally invasive endoscopic carpal tunnel release.

During minimally invasive endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery, your doctor performs your procedure using a small camera, specialized surgical tools, and a few tiny incisions. Minimally invasive surgeries offer faster recovery times, less pain, and fewer risks of side effects.

After having carpal tunnel release, your wrist is often bandaged or splinted for a week or two before you begin physical therapy. Your recovery time can vary from a few days to a few months.

You may have just recently noticed symptoms or may have been suffering from chronic pain for more than a decade; if you experience any of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, contact Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery for a consultation. Our caring staff will be honored to take care of you.

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