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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when a large nerve at the wrist is compressed.  This often results in pain, tingling and numbness.  When the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are persistent and significant despite therapeutic treatment, surgical release of the nerve may be necessary for long-term relief. 

  • The carpal tunnel is a ring made up mostly of bone with a band of taut fibrous tissue completing the ring.  Surgical intervention includes cutting the band of fibrous tissue altering the tunnel from a tight ring to an open canal.  This ultimately releases the pressure on the nerve and relieves symptoms.

  • Occasionally, there are instances where the carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by an acute event or accident.  This short-term pain can sometimes be treated with non-surgical intervention like steroid injections. 

 

Frequently asked questions

Q:  How quickly can I return to work after carpal tunnel surgery?

A:  The answer here is complicated and depends on what the patient’s job entails.  Most are able to drive within the first few days, and return to light duty within the first week after surgery. Jobs that require prolonged typing or dexterous tasks are possible after one month, and if the job is heavy (manual labor), patients can be required to rest for 6 weeks before returning to work.

 

Q:  What are the chances the carpal tunnel will return after surgery?
A:  Once the tunnel has been released, the nerve should return to normal without another bout of compression.  That said, if the patient does not comply with post op orders and continues with prolonged repetitive motion, it will inevitably affect healing and outcome is less certain.