Carpal Tunnel Release

Carpal Tunnel Release is a surgical procedure performed to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), a condition characterized by the compression of the median nerve in the wrist's carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow, rigid tunnel formed by bones and ligaments, and it houses not only the median nerve but also several tendons that control finger movement.

The compression of the median nerve can lead to a variety of symptoms, which may include:

Numbness, tingling, or a "pins and needles" sensation in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and part of the ring finger. This numbness and tingling may radiate up the arm. Weakness in the affected hand, particularly in the thumb, can occur. This can make it challenging to grip objects or perform fine motor tasks. Many people with CTS experience pain in the hand and wrist, which may extend up the forearm. The pain can vary in intensity and may be more pronounced at night. Some individuals with CTS may find that they have difficulty with tasks that require manual dexterity, such as buttoning a shirt or picking up small objects.

The exact cause of carpal tunnel syndrome can vary but is often associated with factors such as repetitive hand and wrist movements, hereditary factors, medical conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis), wrist fractures or dislocations, and fluid retention during pregnancy. In some cases, there may be no clear underlying cause.

Carpal Tunnel Release may be recommended in severe cases or when other treatments do not provide relief. During this surgery, the ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel is cut to alleviate pressure on the median nerve.

During carpal tunnel release surgery, a surgeon will perform the following steps:

Anesthesia: The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, or sometimes under general anesthesia. The choice of anesthesia depends on the patient's and surgeon's preferences.

Incision: A small incision is made at the base of the palm, on the side where the wrist meets the hand. In some cases, endoscopic techniques are used, where a smaller incision and a camera are employed to guide the surgery.


Cutting the Transverse Carpal Ligament: The key step in carpal tunnel release is cutting the transverse carpal ligament, which forms the roof of the carpal tunnel. By cutting this ligament, the pressure on the median nerve is relieved, and the nerve has more space. This reduces the symptoms of numbness, tingling, and pain associated with CTS.

Closure: After cutting the ligament, the surgeon closes the incision with sutures, staples, or adhesive strips. A bandage or dressing is applied to the surgical site.

Recovery: The patient is typically allowed to go home on the same day as the surgery. Recovery from carpal tunnel release is usually relatively quick, and most people can resume light activities within a few days to a couple of weeks. Full recovery may take several weeks to a few months.

Carpal tunnel release surgery is generally considered safe and effective for relieving the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, like any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications, such as infection, scarring, or recurrent symptoms. Your healthcare provider will discuss these risks with you and help you decide if carpal tunnel release is the appropriate treatment for your condition.

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Carpal Tunnel Release