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Normal anatomy:

The tendons and nerve to the hand (median nerve) passes between strong ligaments (carpal ligaments) in the wrist and the wrist bones (carpal tunnel).


Normal anatomy


Indications:

When the nerves or tendons inside the carpal tunnel swell or become inflamed (carpal tunnel syndrome), pressure on the nerve causes pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the fingers and wrist.

The nerve most commonly affected in carpal tunnel syndrome is the median nerve, which provides motor and sensory function to the hand.

Most physicians recommend trying non-surgical treatments (such as: splinting the wrist, using anti-inflammation medications) before recommending surgery.


Indications


Procedure:

Carpal tunnel repair is done while the patient is awake or sleepy and pain-free (local or regional anesthesia) or deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia). Through an incision on the inside of the wrist, the carpal ligament is cut open to relieve the pressure on the nerve. The incision is stitched (sutured) closed.


Procedure


Aftercare:

The surgery is usually very successful in relieving symptoms. Numbness or tingling that continues after surgery is usually due to damage to the nerve. A splint may be used to reduce wrist motion. The surgery is usually done as an outpatient. Complete recovery takes about 4 weeks.


Aftercare



Review Date: 5/5/2008
Reviewed By: Andrew L. Chen, MD, MS, Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, The Alpine Clinic, Littleton, NH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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