A lot of people associate the term “surgery” with scary imagery – anesthesia, hospitals, long recovery periods, stitches etc. This is exactly the reason why the mere thought of virginia nerve surgery is scary for a lot of folks. However, you’ll be glad to know that carpal tunnel surgery has very little risk associated with it. It is minimally invasive, and requires no stitches. This method is known as endoscopic release. Read on below to learn more about the procedure.
What Reasons Lead to the Development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Before you decide to get carpal tunnel surgery, you need to be made aware about the possible reasons why carpal tunnel occurs in the first place. Carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS is not an uncommon occurrence, and there are various treatment options available to patients. CTS is basically caused due to the application of pressure on the median nerve, which is situated at a very specific area on the wrist known as the carpal tunnel. As the name suggests, this is a space or tunnel within your wrist that contains some tendons, known as flexor tendons, along with the median nerve.
It so happens that in some cases, the flexor tendons running through this tunnel outgrow the available space. This leads to the buildup of pressure around the median nerve, and the end result happens to be discomfort and pain for the patient. People who have been diagnosed with CTS can choose between two treatment solutions – they can either opt to decrease the pressure that has been created by the flexor tendons within the tunnel, or they can increase the space within the tunnel to enable a comfortable fit for the flexor tendons. It is possible to achieve the former solution with the aid of carpal tunnel surgery.
But why does CTS occur in the first place? Well, the answer isn’t as simple as it seems. For starters, there isn’t any one particular activity that results in the development of CTS. But certain risk factors are present that enhance the chances of a person developing this kind of a condition. Some of the most common reasons include inflammatory illnesses, past injuries, pregnancy, and repetitive motions.
How Can You Know Whether Someone Has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Not?
People suffering from CTS often tend to exhibit the following symptoms:
- Weakening grip of the hands
- Tingling sensations and numbness on some fingers
- Wrist pain that often radiates to the neck, the arm, the shoulders, or the forearm
- Severe pain of the hands during the nighttime
How Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome be Diagnosed?
Before you begin your research on the available forms of surgery and treatments for CTS, you need to be certain that you’re actually suffering from the problem of CTS.
You need to start by visiting a hand surgeon. They are often known as orthopedic hand surgeons or hand specialists as well. You should make an appointment and then talk to the surgeon regarding the symptoms that you are experiencing. Primary care physicians won’t be of much help in this regard since they do not possess the expertise level that hand surgeons do to correctly identify or diagnose CTS. It could be that you’ve developed a lesser known, different condition, and the surgeon might be able to help you understand it.
However, even when it comes to the diagnosis of CTS, this is not a straightforward job. As this is a condition of the nerves rather than a disease, you cannot expect it to be diagnosed based on a specific test or criteria. This is one of the most common misconceptions that most people harbor about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In order to correctly diagnose CTS, doctors will need access to your medical history. They might conduct physical examinations and suggest some more tests. In the end, it is the hand surgeon who will piece together all the different pieces and provide you with a competent diagnosis.
There are some specific physical tests that are great when it comes to determining whether a person has CTS or not. These include:
- Phalen’s Test: This is where the hand surgeon is going to bend the wrist of your hand in a 90 degree angle to check whether there is any tingling feeling in your fingers or not.
- Carpal Tunnel Compression Test: In this method, the hand surgeon applies pressure on your median nerve to check whether you have any unusual sensations in your fingers.
- Tinel’s Test: The hand surgeon starts tapping over your median nerve to elicit a shock response or a tingling feeling in your fingers.
There are other ways to test for CTS that can aid in its diagnosis. These are:
- Diagnostic Steroid Injections
- Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV)
- Electromyelogram (EMG)
As soon as your condition is clearly diagnosed, it is time to begin considering the various options for treatment with the recommendation of your hand surgeon.
Options for Carpal Tunnel Surgery
The individual needs of the patient are the main factor in determining which course of action provides the ultimate relief. The decision needs to be taken with the aid of an experienced and trained hand surgeon.
There are two different ways for performing Carpal Tunnel surgery. One is an open procedure while the other one is a no-stitch, minimally invasive release.
Open Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
This surgery is performed by making a big incision ranging from three inches to four inches. The doctor will have to administer stitches or staples for the process. Scarring is going to occur, and you might feel pain after the procedure is complete. The healing process for this type of treatment usually ranges between one month to three months.
Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
This surgery is performed with the aid of a small endoscope. No stitches are required, but it does leave a tiny scar. You shouldn’t feel much pain after the process. The best part about this method is that you can begin using your hands on the same day.