Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.
Skip to main content

Do I Need Surgery for My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Do I Need Surgery for My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition in which the median nerve in the wrist gets compressed by surrounding structures. Although mild to moderate cases of carpal tunnel syndrome typically can be treated using conservative, nonsurgical therapies, chronic or severe carpal tunnel syndrome may require surgery.

At Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, Thomas Powell, MD, offers patient-centered treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, including state-of-the-art carpal tunnel release surgery. In this post, Dr. Powell explains when surgery might be the right choice for your carpal tunnel symptoms.

Carpal tunnel syndrome 101

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that involves your median nerve, which is a long nerve that runs down your forearm and into your hand and fingers. Before reaching your hand, the nerve passes through a narrow opening in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. 

The tunnel is made up of wrist bones, ligaments, and muscle tissue. If this area is inflamed or injured in some way, the nerve can wind up being compressed or “pinched,” resulting in symptoms like:

People with carpal tunnel syndrome may have difficulty feeling objects, gripping and grasping, or performing detailed activities, such as buttoning a shirt.

Lots of issues can cause or contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, including:

Carpal tunnel syndrome can also happen more often in people who have naturally narrow wrists.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is also a common workplace injury. If you use a keyboard or perform repetitive activities with your hands and wrists on a regular basis as part of your job, you increase your risk of developing this painful condition.

If you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, having a medical evaluation as soon as possible is very important. Delaying medical treatment could prolong your painful symptoms or make them worse, and it could also lead to permanent nerve damage and disability.

When surgery is the best choice

Often, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with a combination of oral medications, wrist injections, activity modifications, and physical therapy. Surgery is typically recommended if conservative options, such as the ones just listed, don’t work. 

Carpal tunnel surgery is also called carpal tunnel release surgery, because the goal of surgery is to release the pressure on the median nerve. To do that, Dr. Powell makes an incision through one of the ligaments that comprises part of the carpal tunnel. This relieves the pressure on the nerve and makes the tunnel a little wider to help prevent future symptoms.

Carpal tunnel surgery is often performed using a minimally invasive technique that relies on two or three very small incisions, but sometimes, a larger incision is required. Dr. Powell recommends the optimal approach based on your wrist anatomy and other factors.

After surgery, you’ll need to protect your wrist with a splint or other support while it heals. Furthermore, physical therapy can help restore normal function in your wrist and hand and promote healing.

Find relief for your carpal tunnel symptoms

Carpal tunnel syndrome is common, but that doesn't mean it’s not serious. Without proper treatment, nerve problems can progress, eventually resulting in permanent loss of feeling and function in your hand.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome or you think you do, call 205-606-5232 or request an appointment online with Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery

Arthroscopic surgery uses state-of-the-art technology to evaluate joint problems and correct them without the need for large incisions. If arthroscopy is in your future, here are five key benefits you should know about.

Is Arthritis Reversible?

Millions of people suffer from arthritis, a degenerative condition that destroys joint function over time. Here, learn more about arthritis, its treatment options, and whether or not it can be reversed or cured.
When to Worry About Nagging Wrist Pain

When to Worry About Nagging Wrist Pain

If you have wrist pain, even the simplest task can cause discomfort. Here’s how to tell if your wrist pain needs medical care or if it’s OK to try a little TLC first.