Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common nerve entrapment disorder. The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness, tingling, and occasionally pain in the hand, especially if confined to the median nerve distribution. The symptoms are often worse at night but can also be present in the daytime in the worker with a provocative job. Symptoms are often worse with driving or holding a book, newspaper, or telephone.

Appropriate treatment can interrupt the progression of this disorder and avoid the development of permanent disability. Conservative therapy may be sufficient, although many patients require surgery. Surgical treatment may involve open or endoscopic technique. The goal of either approach is to decrease pressure upon the median nerve at the wrist by dividing the transverse carpal ligament and antebrachial fascia.


Open technique

The open approach provides a complete view of the anatomy and possible anomalies, thereby decreasing the risk of injury to critical structures. This approach also allows exploration of the carpal canal (eg, mass) or biopsy of the tenosynovium to rule out systemic inflammatory disease, which may not be possible with the endoscopic technique.

Endoscopic techniques

Due to preservation of the palmar fascia, subcutaneous fat, and skin, endoscopic median nerve decompression may result in less scar tenderness and an earlier return to work compared with the open technique. However, good visualization is essential for the endoscopic technique. If this cannot be achieved, one must switch to the open technique.


What is the recovery time for endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery?

If you had open surgery on your dominant hand and you do repeated actions at work, you may be able to return to work in 6 to 8 weeks. Repeated motions include typing or assembly-line work. If the surgery was on the other hand and you do not do repeated actions at work, you may be able to return to work in 7 to 14 days

How painful is it after carpal tunnel surgery?

Expect to have pain, swelling, and stiffness after the operation. Your doctor will let you know what medicines might help. You may have some soreness for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months after surgery. Your bandage will stay on for 1-2 weeks.

Is carpal tunnel release surgery worth it?

Most people with carpal tunnel syndrome only consider having surgery if other treatments don't provide enough relief. Surgery can help relieve symptoms or make them go away for good, but it is not without risks. In carpal tunnel syndrome the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in your wrist, is squashed.

How long is carpal tunnel surgery?

How long does carpal tunnel release surgery take? The surgery itself typically takes about 15 minutes. However, patients usually spend about 45 minutes in the operating room while equipment is set up and anesthesia administered.