Carpal Tunnel Surgery in Fair Lawn, NJ
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects millions of people each year and is caused by a combination of factors which can include genetics, preexisting health conditions like diabetes and arthritis, repetitive use and injury. It is a condition caused when there is pressure on the median nerve and the tendons that run through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway formed between the carpal ligament and small bones. When this tunnel gets too narrow for the nerve and the tendons that are responsible for flexing and curling the fingers, patients experience weakness, numbness, tingling and pain in the hand impacted. When non-surgical treatment options have not worked to alleviate pain and restore function, surgery is often recommended.
To schedule a consultation with a qualified surgeon in Fair Lawn that specializes in carpal tunnel surgery, call (201) 806-6099 or contact Dr. M.T. Shahab online.
Who Needs Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery?
Carpal tunnel release is a surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome involving the cutting of the carpal ligament in the wrist to alleviate pressure on the median nerve. The goal of the surgery is to relieve the numbness, weakness and pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
When less invasive treatment options fail, it may be time to talk to your healthcare provider about surgery. Who makes a good candidate for carpal tunnel release surgery? You may want to consult with a surgeon if:
- Your symptoms have been present for at least six months and include constant numbness
- Non-surgical treatment has not been effective
- You are in good overall health
- The muscles in the base of the palm have already begun to shrink in size
- You are 50 years old or older
What to Expect Before and During Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Once you and your healthcare provider have decided on carpal tunnel release surgery, your healthcare provider may request that you have a full physical exam. This is done simply to ensure that you are healthy enough to undergo surgery. You will likely be admitted to the hospital early in the morning and you will be asked to refrain from food or drink after midnight the night prior to the surgery. Occasionally, general anesthesia is used, but more often surgeons use regional anesthesia, which allows you to be awake during the surgery while feeling no pain in the surgical area. This is done by injecting medications, which block the nerves in a portion of the body. Surgeons can either choose to put your entire arm asleep using a technique called an axillary block, or they can choose to only put the hand asleep using a technique known as a wrist block. Either way, regional anesthesia allows for faster recovery time and less risk for complications during surgery.
Once the procedure begins, the surgeon will thoroughly clean the area. Following this, the surgeon will make a small incision on the palm of your hand, exposing your carpal ligament. Once the ligament is exposed, your surgeon will "release" the ligament, using a scalpel or surgical scissors to sever it. Your surgeon will then suture your skin back together. The procedure is completed by dressing the hand.
These surgeries are usually performed on an outpatient basis, allowing you to return home on the same day.
What to Expect After Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
After surgery, you will be released with the hand dressed in bandages. You should leave this dressing on until you return to the surgeon to remove it. It is recommended to elevate the hand above the level of the heart. Using an ice pack several times throughout the day can reduce swelling of the area. Your surgeon will likely recommend moving your elbow and shoulder several times throughout the day to keep your joints moving properly. You also may be told to move your fingers and thumb several times throughout the day. The stiches will normally be removed 10-14 days after surgery. It is important to avoid getting the stiches wet until they are removed.
For up to six weeks following surgery, you will need to avoid serious pinching movements or heavy gripping with the affected hand. Your doctor will probably suggest occupational or physical therapy a few times a week for anywhere from 4-6 weeks. This therapy can involve electrical stimulation of the wrist, hot and/or cold packs, exercises to strengthen muscles and massage.
Since this is usually an outpatient procedure, carpal tunnel surgery recovery time is short. Symptoms tend to resolve fairly rapidly, though some patients may experience sensitivity for several months following surgery. Risks involved with the surgery are usually risks involved with any surgery and can include:
- Hand weakness
- Nerve damage
- Pain in the area of the incision
- Formation of scar tissue
- Complications of anesthesia
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and less invasive treatments have not been effective, request more information about carpal tunnel release surgery today. Call (201) 806-6099 or contact Dr. M.T. Shahab online.
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