Prior to surgery and depending on your health, your doctor may recommend some tests to ensure you are able to proceed with the surgery.
Preparing for carpal tunnel release surgery
You will need to stop taking any medications that affect blood clotting and fast up to 12 hours before surgery.
During carpal tunnel release surgery
Carpal tunnel release surgery involves cutting the ligament around the carpal tunnel to relieve pressure on the median nerve. It is usually done with local anaesthesia.
In an open surgery, a single incision is made, allowing the surgeon to cut the carpal ligament and enlarge the carpal tunnel using normal surgical tools.
In an endoscopic surgery, 1 or 2 cuts are made (depending on which techniques are employed), through which a thin tube with a camera, and small surgical tools are inserted to perform the procedure.
Finally, the incision or incisions will be stitched up and your hand bandaged or placed in a splint to prevent movement while healing.
After carpal tunnel release surgery
Carpal tunnel release is usually a day surgery procedure, allowing you to return home on the same day. It is normal to feel pain, which can be managed with pain medication.
You will need to keep your wrist bandaged or in a splint for 1 – 2 weeks. During this time, keeping your hand elevated at night may help to reduce swelling.
After the surgery, inform your doctor immediately if you have a fever, experience increased pain in the wrist or notice redness, swelling or bleeding from the surgical site.
Recovery period for carpal tunnel release surgery
After the bandage or splint is removed, physiotherapy will help you to regain range of movement and strength in your wrist. Recovery time will vary, ranging from a few weeks to a few months.
Risks associated with carpal tunnel release surgery
- Injury to the median nerve or nerves that branch out from it
- Injuries to nearby blood vessels
- A sensitive scar