What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a passageway in the wrist formed by the carpal bones, which make up the floor and sides of the tunnel, and the transverse carpal ligament which forms the roof of the tunnel.
Inside the carpal tunnel are flexor tendons that bend your fingers and thumb. Also running through the tunnel is the median nerve, a cord about the size of a pencil containing thousands of nerve fibres supplying sensation to the thumb, middle and index fingers, and half the ring finger.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by increased pressure in the tunnel resulting in compression of the median nerve against the ligament. Blood flow to the nerve is restricted causing a sensation described as “pins and needles” to the fingers. Numbness and pain may also occur.
Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome
The procedure is performed as day surgery.
The operation lasts approximately 20-30 minutes.
Local anaesthetic and intravenous sedation are used.
A small incision is made in the palm over the wrist area.
The surgeon will cut the ligament forming the roof of the tunnel which will relieve pressure
on the median nerve.
Your hand will remain numb for several hours due to the local anaesthetic.
Symptoms may take some weeks to resolve.
Once you go home....
Do not drive for 24 hours after surgery.
The bandage may be removed when you wish.
The suture line must be kept dry and clean until suture removal 12-14 days after surgery.
Cover the affected hand with a plastic bag when showering.
You may move your hand as comfort permits, it is important to keep using it gently.
Use analgesic medication as required.
Once the sutures are removed you may massage the incision line with cream (e.g. vitamin E cream).
Contact our office if the wound becomes more painful, swollen or red or if your symptoms worsen.