Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

Omaha Orthopedic Animation by Dr. Darren Keiser MD

Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery Information

Learn About Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery from Omaha Dr. Darren Keiser

carpal tunnel release surgeryThe carpal tunnel is a narrow, tunnel-like structure in the wrist. The bottom and sides of this tunnel are formed by wrist (carpal) bones. The top of the tunnel is covered by a strong band of connective tissue called the transverse carpal ligament.

The median nerve travels from the forearm into the hand through this tunnel in the wrist. The median nerve controls feeling in the palm side of the thumb, index finger, and long fingers. The nerve also controls the muscles around the base of the thumb. The tendons that bend the fingers and thumb also travel through the carpal tunnel. These tendons are called flexor tendons.

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the tissues surrounding the flexor tendons in the wrist swell and put pressure on the median nerve. These tissues are called the synovium. The synovium lubricates the tendons and makes it easier to move the fingers.

This swelling of the synovium narrows the confined space of the carpal tunnel, and over time, crowds the nerve.

Many things contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome:

> Heredity is the most important factor – carpal tunnels are smaller in some people, and this trait can run in families.
Hand use over time can play a role.

> Hormonal changes related to pregnancy can play a role.

> Age — the disease occurs more frequently in older people.

> Medical conditions, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalance can play a role.

Nonsurgical Treatment for Carpal Tunnel

There are several nonsurgical treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome, depending on how serious your symptoms are, and how severe the results from the nerve test are.

The most common nonsurgical options include:

> Braces

> Exercises

> Medication

> Steroid injections

Braces – Mild carpal tunnel syndrome can be managed by wearing braces that keep your wrist in a straight position to reduce pressure on the nerve. These braces are usually worn at night.

Exercise – Some people feel better when doing stretching or nerve gliding exercises for the wrist. The goal of nerve gliding exercises is to help the median nerve move more freely within the tight confines of the carpal tunnel.

Medication – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or oral steroids can provide temporary relief from painful symptoms.

Steroid Injections – An injection of cortisone-type medicine into the carpal tunnel can relieve more serious symptoms, but the pain may come back.

Nonsurgical treatments are often effective at managing carpal tunnel for long periods of time. If symptoms progress, however, permanent damage to the median nerve can occur, so it is important to keep track of your symptoms and have regular check-ups with your doctor.

Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

If your symptoms have persisted through nonsurgical treatments, you and your doctor may decide that surgery is the best option for you.

The goal of surgery is to relieve your symptoms and to prevent further compression and damage to the median nerve.

The surgical procedure performed for carpal tunnel syndrome is called a carpal tunnel release.

The goal of carpal tunnel surgery is to make more room for the median nerve and flexor tendons.

There are different surgical techniques for doing this, but all involve cutting the transverse carpal ligament to open up the carpal tunnel.

**Call the office of Dr. Darren Keiser to set up an appointment & learn if Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery is right for you.