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Carpal Tunnel Release

What is carpal tunnel release?

Carpal tunnel release is one of the most common surgeries in the United States, performed for the relief of carpal tunnel symptoms such as tingling, numbness and pain.

During the procedure, the small, tunnel-like band of tissue around the wrist is severed to reduce pressure on the median nerve, which supplies sensation to the thumb, index finger, middle finger and part of the ring finger.

When is carpal tunnel release performed?

If you've been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor has likely suggested nonsurgical treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medicines, wrist splits or ergonomic improvements to your workspace to help relieve pressure. If symptoms continue or worsen, it may be time to consider surgery.

What to expect?

The procedure doesn't require an overnight hospital stay and is performed with local anesthesia—medication that numbs the area so you won't feel pain.

There are two types of carpal tunnel release surgery:

Open release surgery involves making an incision in the palm near the wrist (up to 2 inches long) and cutting the carpal ligament to widen the carpal tunnel. Endoscopic surgery may allow for faster recovery, less postoperative pain and less scarring than open release surgery. Your surgeon will make a single small incision (in the wrist) or two small incisions (in the wrist and palm), using a small camera instead of a larger incision to see the ligament to be released.

Your doctor can help you decide which treatment is best for you. The physicians with REX Neurosurgery & Spine Specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome and are trained in the newest techniques for alleviating the condition.

Symptoms will likely be relieved immediately after surgery, although recovery from surgery can take a few months. Your wrist will likely be in a splint or bandage for about a week, after which you'll begin physical therapy exercises to help restore wrist strength. Most patients recover completely, with little risk of recurrence.

The surgeons at REX Neurosurgery & Spine Specialists can help you decide on the treatment that is best for you. They are trained in the latest treatments and techniques and are experienced in diagnosing and treating brain, spine and peripheral nerve disorders and disease. To make an appointment at REX Neurosurgery & Spine Specialists, call (919) 784-1410.