Carpal Tunnel Release
Carpal tunnel release is a surgical procedure to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on your median nerve in the wrist, in an area of bone and ligament called the carpal tunnel. This nerve serves your thumb and most fingers so is the most important nerve for sensation in the hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common condition effecting men and women of all ages, although more common in women. Symptoms felt in the hand include:
- pins and needles
- a burning sensation
- pain in your fingers, hand or arm
- a weak thumb
- difficulty gripping
Symptoms can become worse at night and patients will often wake up with numb or tingly hands. Symptoms may also be more obvious when gripping, for example when driving and gripping the steering wheel or when holding a phone.
Non-surgical treatment options
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome will depend on the severity of the condition. Before having surgery there are some non-surgical treatment options that may help. They are:
Symptoms might be helped by making small lifestyle changes such as avoiding anything that makes symptoms worse, taking regular breaks from repetitive tasks, and for computer users, making modifications to your keyboard and mouse positioning.
A splint is a little like a fingerless glove. It will keep your wrist in a straight, neutral position so pressure on the median nerve is minimised and movements that can make carpal tunnel syndrome worse are limited. This is particularly helpful to relieve symptoms at night.
Steroids are injected into the tissue near the carpal tunnel to reduce swelling, which relieves the pressure on the median nerve. Steroid injections might not always be effective first time so patients will often try twice before having surgery. Results might be short lived but could be long term.
Not everyone will need CT surgery but for those that do it is very effective. Surgery releases pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel by dividing the carpal tunnel ligament. It can be performed under general or local anaesthetic. Once the area is totally numb an inflatable band, similar to a blood pressure cuff, will be placed around your arm to stop the blood flow to the hand. Your consultant will then make a small incision from your wrist to your palm to cut through the ligament. Once this has been done, the incision will be closed and a bandage applied.
You will be able to go home soon after your procedure. Your hand may remain numb for several hours and as the anaesthetic begins to wear off you will feel tingling. You should take pain medication before the anaesthesia wears off to help with any discomfort as feeling returns to your hand. You will get relief from your symptoms immediately but expect to have some pain and swelling for some weeks.
Your stitches will be removed around 2 weeks after surgery, or dissolvable stitches will disappear after 2 to 3 weeks. When your stitches are removed, you may notice your scar is tender, pink and lumpy. It’s normal for your scar to feel tender after the operation, but this usually settles down within a few months. Your scar should begin to look better after around three months.
You won’t be able to drive for up to two weeks and will need two weeks off work to allow your hand to heal, longer if you have a manual job. For the first week your hand will be bandaged and completely out of action but you are encouraged to move your fingers to prevent stiffness. After two weeks you will be able to use your hand but should avoid anything too strenuous. It may be around 12 weeks before your full grip strength returns.
Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery Explained
Carpal tunnel release surgery is available at One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire. We can book you in to see a specialist Orthopaedic surgeon for an initial consultation, usually within 48 hours.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Carpal Tunnel Release treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience
Mr Justin S Chatterjee
Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive Breast and Hand Surgeon
One Hatfield Hospital
Mr Rajeev Sharma
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon - Upper Limb Surgery (Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist and Hand)
One Hatfield Hospital