Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that affects one of the main nerves (median nerve) of the hand, caused by pressure on the nerve as it travels through the wrist.
CTS can cause tingling, numbness, and sometimes pain in the hand and fingers. These symptoms often start gradually, are often worse at night, and tend to affect the thumb and index and middle fingers.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can be vary from person to person, ranging from mild in some, to more severe in others.
While mild symptoms can often be treated with steroid injections or splints, more severe cases often require surgery - also known as a carpal tunnel release.
Dr Colbert will assess the severity of your carpal tunnel and discuss the treatments available.
While mild carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated without an operation, more severe symptoms often require treatment with a short operation called a carpal tunnel release (CTR).
This operation can be performed under local or general anaesthesia, and as day surgery, meaning you don't need to stay overnight in hospital.
The procedure involves making a skin incision where the wrist meets the palm, dividing the roof of the carpal tunnel to reduce the pressure on the nerve, and then closing the skin incision with sutures.
After surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome your hand will be dressed in a light bandage, allowing you to use your hand for light activities that that don't cause excessive pain or discomfort.
Pins and needles are usually gone immediately after surgery, while skin healing is complete in several weeks. Hand strength can be reduced in severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, and if not too severe can improve over months.
Dr Colbert performs carpal tunnel release surgery through a small incision at the bottom of your palm near the wrist crease.
This scar normally heals without complication, but can sometimes be tender to touch for several months after.
Carpal tunnel surgery is associated with following risks:
Poor wound healing
Damage to surrounding structures
Symptoms worse or not improved by surgery
Carpal tunnel syndrome, like any surgical procedure, carries risks and therefore before proceeding you should always seek an opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.