What are the treatment options?
Treatment usually begins with wrist splints, especially at night, anti-inflammatory medications, and activity modifications. Steroid injections into the carpal tunnel may also provide relief of symptoms, but unfortunately no interventions short of surgery give adequate space for the nerve in the carpal tunnel once there is too much pressure. Ultimately, surgery may be necessary to relieve the pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.
What is involved in surgery?
Carpal tunnel surgery involves an incision in the base of the palm to gain access to the carpal tunnel. The goal of surgery is to provide more space to for the constricted nerve, which the 30 minute procedure reliably accomplishes. I perform the procedure typically in an outpatient setting and most patients have only a few days of discomfort from the incision are able to use their hand fully by 2 weeks after the sutures are removed. Many patients are able to return to work within 1-3 days, and the dressing stays in place until the sutures are removed.
It is important to note that in severe cases, the nerve has sustained permanent injury from years of compression. Though the surgery reliably relieves pressure on the nerve, sometimes the damage is irreversible and persistent numbness or weakness remain.Interested in learning more about your symtoms? Contact Dr. Scott Ruhlman’s office at 206-633-8100 or submit your question here« Back to Glossary Index