Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is the carpal tunnel?

The carpal tunnel is a tunnel at the wrist joint. The road and walls are made of your wrist bones and the roof is made of a ligament, called the transverse carpal ligament. In this small tunnel nine tendons and the Median nerve travel.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common, painful, progressive condition that is caused by compression of the median nerve at the wrist area.

What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness, tingling sensation in all the fingers except the little finger. A pain and burning sensation in the hand may radiate up the arm and elbow. In severe cases there may be weakness in the hand with diminished grip strength. If left untreated it can lead to permanent nerve damage to your hand.

What are the causes of carpal tunnel syndrome?

Exact causes of the condition are not known, however certain factors increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. These include congenital abnormalities, repetitive motion of hand and wrist, fractures and sprains, hormonal imbalance, and other medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, obesity, gout, overactive pituitary gland, or the presence of a cyst or tumour in the canal. 

How do you treat carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome may be treated using conservative approaches or surgery. The conservative treatments include:

If conservative treatment options fail to resolve the condition your surgeon may recommend surgical procedure. This is performed as an Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel release or an Open Carpal Tunnel release.

What is an Open carpal tunnel release?

This is a small day procedure. It can be performed under local or general anaesthetic. A small 2cm incision is made in the palm. Through which the “roof” of the carpal tunnel, the transverse carpal ligament, is incised and released. This relieves the pressure on the Median Nerve. An opportunity is often used to inspect the carpal tunnel and the nerve for other causes of compression.

Immediately post operatively you have functional use of your hand. At two weeks once the wound as healed, you will have full use of your hand. 

What is an Endoscopic carpal tunnel release?

This is a keyhole method to perform a Carpal tunnel release. It involves a small incision approximately 1 cm long. Like the open procedure the “roof” or the transverse carpal ligament is incised and the carpal tunnel is decompressed. It is a day procedure performed under local or general anaesthetic.

The advantage of performing the release endoscopically is a smaller incision, arguably less pain and an expediated return to full use of the hand. This is ideal especially for bilateral carpal tunnel releases.

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