Questions You May Have Before Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Carpal tunnel can cause wrist pain, stiffness, and tingling that runs up your arm and down into your hand. Non-invasive treatments like ice therapy, physical therapy, and massage may keep it under control for a while. But many patients with carpal tunnel syndrome eventually end up needing surgery. Here are some questions you may have if your doctor has recommended carpal tunnel surgery for you.

Where Will the Incision Be?

The incision to perform carpal tunnel surgery is made along the front of your wrist, right where your wrist meets the palm of your hand. This is where your median nerve runs through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel narrows and presses on your median nerve, resulting in carpal tunnel syndrome. Through this tiny incision, your surgeon will loosen that carpal tunnel and relieve the pressure on your median nerve. Because this is such a small incision, it will heal quite easily after surgery.

Do You Have to Go Under Anesthesia for Carpal Tunnel Surgery?

No, you do not have to undergo general anesthesia for carpal tunnel surgery. You will likely remain awake during the procedure. Your surgeon will, however, administer a local or regional anesthetic to numb your arm and hand. Some surgeons also give patients a sedative to keep them calm during the procedure. Your arm will be draped so you do not see or have to watch what is going on. Carpal tunnel surgery is quite quick. Patients often say it was over before they knew it.

How Quickly Will You Feel Better?

There will be some pain as you recover from carpal tunnel surgery. However, patients often find that the tingling, stiffness, and soreness they were experiencing prior to surgery is immediately gone after the procedure. After a few days to a week when the post-surgical soreness wears off and you're allowed to stop wearing your splint or wrist brace, you will feel the full, positive effects of the procedure.

Are There Side Effects to Worry About?

There is a potential for nerve damage during carpal tunnel surgery, but it's very rare for this to happen. There is also a risk of infection. If your surgical site becomes red and swollen, or if you develop a fever after surgery, contact your doctor; these could be signs of an infection.

For moderate to severe carpal tunnel, surgery is often advised. Most patients recover well and enjoy freedom from their previous stiffness and tingling. Reach out to a local clinic, such as Vitality Family Healthcare, to learn more.