Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release

What is an endoscopic carpal tunnel release?

An endoscopic carpal tunnel release procedure is used to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. During the procedure, a surgeon will make a small incision in the wrist instead of making an incision in the palm as they would with an open surgical procedure. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness in the fingers and thumb. It occurs when the median nerve is compressed. The median nerve spans down the arm and forearm and into the wrist and hand. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage located in the wrist. Flexor tendons, which bend the fingers and the thumb, also travel through the tunnel. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the carpal tunnel narrows. This can occur when the tissue surrounding the flexor tendons swells. When this occurs, the tunnel can narrow, putting pressure on the nerve. The condition tends to worsen over time. Surgery is considered for patients when nonsurgical treatment options have not relieved symptoms, if the median nerve has been damaged, if symptoms interfere with daily activities, or if tissues such as a tumor are putting pressure on the nerve. Continued pressure on the median nerve can lead to nerve damage.

What is an endoscopic carpal tunnel release procedure like?

Unlike open carpal tunnel surgery, during an endoscopic carpal tunnel release a surgeon completes the procedure through a small tube placed in the wrist. Prior to surgery, the patient should inform their doctor if they are allergic to any medications and of any medications and supplements they are currently taking. The patient should also inform their doctor if they are taking any anticoagulant medications or other medications that affect blood clotting. The patient will likely receive a local or intravenous anesthetic for the procedure and may receive medicine to help them relax. The surgeon will then make one or two small incisions near the wrist. They will use an endoscope which contains a tiny camera that will allow them to view footage of the wrist on a monitor. They will then use miniature instruments for the procedure through the endoscope and release the transverse carpal ligament. The incision will then be closed with sutures. The patient may be required to bandage the wrist or use a splint for a week or more. Stitches will be removed at a follow-up appointment, and the patient may benefit from physical therapy.

Do you have an injury that could benefit from this surgical technique? Contact the specialists at Mobility Bone & Joint Institute to learn more about treatment options.

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