Carpal tunnel surgery
Your hands are some of the most complex structures in your body. They allow you to perform everyday tasks. But some people develop carpal tunnel syndrome, a common and painful condition. Left untreated, you’re at risk of lasting nerve damage. Carpal tunnel decompression surgery is a quick and simple procedure to reduce or remove your symptoms completely.
Carpal tunnel surgery Brisbane
What is carpal tunnel decompression surgery?
Your hands are a vitally important part of who you are. They are able to perform gentle and precise actions, as well as heavy labour. Your hands’ function, however, can be impaired by inflammatory compression of the median nerve (within the carpal tunnel). This causes tingling, and numbness across the hand, most commonly the thumb, index, middle and outer aspects of the ring finger. Carpal tunnel decompression surgery relieves the pressure on the median nerve and reduces or completely removes all your symptoms.
The most common reasons for carpal tunnel surgery are:
- You’ve had severe symptoms for quite a while, and you’re at risk of having lasting nerve damage.
- Weakness of your hands.
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First-line treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
- Splinting (wearing splints on the affected hand and wrist).
- Hand therapy exercises to increase the mobility of the tendons around the nerve to minimise the inflammation.
I will perform a nerve conduction study to ascertain the degree of impedance upon the nerve as it passes from the neck down the arm into the hand. These conduction velocities are a useful adjunct to my decision making.
There are many causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. Some causes are related to trauma, others to degenerative diseases (arthritis) and inflammatory diseases (tenosynovitis). Sometimes pregnancy causes carpal tunnel syndrome; in this case, symptoms usually disappear soon after childbirth.
Anyone can develop carpal tunnel symptoms, however, some people are at a higher risk:
- Manual workers.
- Females during pregnancy.
- Older patients.
Where do you operate?
Carpal tunnel decompression procedure
Carpal tunnel release surgery: step by step
Carpal tunnel release surgery or decompression can be performed under local or general anaesthetic in a day surgery hospital.
It’s an open surgical procedure. We make an incision from the base of the wrist to the middle of the palm to reveal the carpal ligament. Then we make a cut in the ligament to open the carpal tunnel and decompress the median nerve.
Closing the incisions
The area is closed and dressings are applied.
The ligament will gradually grow back together while allowing more room for the median nerve than there was before. Your symptoms will be reduced or completely disappear.
Carpal tunnel recovery
Recovery after carpal tunnel decompression surgery
The operation takes 20-30 minutes and all patients go home the same day.
Surgery is not painful however, expect some swelling and mild discomfort. Simple analgesia will be sufficient however stronger medication will be offered to all patients. An antibiotic cover is also used.
Sutures are removed with a hand therapist.
First 4 weeks
A supportive compression garment is worn for 4 weeks. Taping of the scar is useful for desensitisation and scar softening over the first 4-6 weeks.
Working, bathing, exercising and driving?
Carpal tunnel surgery risks
Risks and complications
The following risks are associated with carpal tunnel surgery:
- Small bleeding/bruising
- Minor infection
- Major infection is uncommon (such as nerve injury, tendon injury). A nerve injury is a very uncommon risk of this operation as the surgery is designed to identify and protect the nerve.
Cost of carpal tunnel surgery Brisbane
What does the procedure cost?
I participate in the known gap scheme to minimise costs to patients. No other costs are charged over this rate.
Not everyone is aware of the fact that in Australia, qualified plastic surgeons are specialist hand surgeons in the first place.
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If you are comparing surgeons, regardless of your personal preference and choice, it is essential to verify that the plastic surgeon you choose is suitably qualified and performs hand surgery on a regular basis. It’s also recommended to always seek second opinions if you have concerns. Ultimately you should feel comfortable with the plastic surgeon you are seeing.
About Dr Andrew Hadj, Plastic surgeon Brisbane
Plastic surgery is the ultimate expression of art and science
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