Carpal tunnel release
Carpal tunnel release is an outpatient procedure performed to relieve pressure on the median nerve in order to reduce carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, which include tingling and numbness in the fingers. Carpal tunnel release helps to restore muscle strength and dexterity to the hand(s), and is typically performed on patients who have had persistent (lasting longer than 6 months) symptoms that have not responded to conservative treatment methods.
Carpal tunnel release can be performed either through an open-surgery procedure or endoscopically; in both cases, the transverse carpal ligament is cut to relieve pressure on the median nerve. Each type of surgery has advantages and disadvantages. Open carpal-tunnel-release surgery involves a 2-inch incision in the middle of the palm; its advantage is that it provides the surgeon with a direct view of the treatment area, so there is less risk of accidentally damaging nerve tissue than there is with an endoscopic procedure. Endoscopic carpal-tunnel-release surgery is less invasive than open surgery; it involves only two tiny incisions, so patients have less postoperative pain and can return to work fairly quickly, assuming surgery was not performed on the dominant hand.
With both types of surgery, patients can return home the same day. Prescription pain medication may be necessary. Although some patients still have carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms after their procedures, most report that symptoms are significantly reduced.