Carpal Tunnel Release
Surgery has been proven very effective in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, a procedure termed carpal tunnel release. This involves an incision in the palm of the hand and dividing the "roof" of the carpal tunnel. By dividing the "roof", the space for the nerve is increased, and the pressure is thereby decreased around the nerve, leading to improvement of symptoms in the vast majority of cases.
The most common form of carpal tunnel release is the "open" technique. To perform this procedure, the surgeon creates a 2 - 4 centimeter incision across the middle of the palm. This entire procedure takes approximately 5 - 10 minutes, and can be performed under local anesthesia. The procedure can also be performed endoscopically, whereby a small incision is made in the wrist and in the palm and an endoscope is used to release the carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel surgery is an outpatient procedure. A soft dressing is applied after surgery, and sutures are removed about 7 - 10 days after the procedure. Occasionally, physical therapy may be useful for functional return.