June 30, 2017 2:22 pm
By: James N. Long, MD FACS
Hand and Plastic Surgeon at Magnolia Orthopaedic Center
Most people have heard of “Carpal Tunnel”, known medically as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), but often there is confusion on just what symptoms are associated with the condition.
With CTS, patients complain of stinging or burning pain or numbness in the fingers of their hands. Onset of CTS can occur without any clear inciting event, frequently worsening slowly over time to become unbearable. Patients with CTS complain of being awakened at night with discomfort in their hands that only improves with shaking their hands or opening and closing them. Occasionally, patients have pain that radiates up their forearm and in severe cases the hand can become weaker and the muscles of the hand can begin to shrink in size.
For early, milder cases, a combination of anti-inflammatory medications, like Ibuprofen, and wrist cock up splints worn at night provide adequate treatment. In many cases, however, more is needed. In these more severe cases we evaluate patients by performing nerve studies which are critical in helping to determine that a nerve compression is the true source of the problem, and those studies also help to specify the site of the nerve compression.
Once a compression is identified, surgical intervention to release pressure on the nerve may be an option to alleviate symptoms. At Magnolia Orthopaedic Center, we offer minimally invasive endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery for appropriate candidates. With this technique only a very small incision is used to place a thin fiber optic camera into the wrist, which permits the ligament (that places pressure on the nerve) to be released. Advantages of endoscopic release are; 1) Less postoperative pain and 2) Much faster healing times. The improvement patients can expect to see are equivalent between the older and the newer endoscopic technique. For patients who are poor candidates for the endoscopic surgery, we also offer the older open technique, which is also very effective.
For more information about treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome or to schedule an appointment, please visit www.mrhc.org/departments-services/orthopaedic-center/.
This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center