Opening the Carpal Tunnel
When you see our name, Texas Neurosurgery, you may think we are concerned primarily with the brain, but we deal with neurology, which is the branch of medicine that deals with the function of the nerves and nervous system.
In line is our treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. In this outpatient procedure, we relieve pressure on the median nerve, which is causing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is the carpal tunnel?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow, fibrous passage in the wrist that protects the median nerve. This is the nerve responsible for movement and sensation in the hand and thumb, index and middle fingers. The canal can become congested, leading to tingling and numbness in the fingers — carpal tunnel syndrome. Our surgeons can open up this congestion and head off the possible loss of strength and dexterity in the fingers.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
It may seem odd that a normal routing of a nerve becomes somehow crowded, leading to pain. Anything that decreases the amount of space in the carpal tunnel increases the amount of tissue in the tunnel or increases the sensitivity of the median nerve can lead carpal tunnel syndrome. The decreasing space starts to put the squeeze on the median nerve. This is a case of nerve impingement or compression. This compression and can lead to numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the affected fingers and thumb of the hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is predominantly a condition acquired by people who have repetitive jobs using their hands. The repetition is usually a motion that the person doesn’t even realize they do the same way over and over again. It affects women more often than men. The condition usually begins as an ache in the wrist that may extend down to the forearm or up to the hand. As carpal tunnel syndrome worsens, the patient may experience tingling or numbness in the fingers or pain radiating through the entire arm. The tingling is a sign of issues with the nerve, and this can lead to weakness in the hand in question along with difficulty grasping small objects.
How we treat carpal tunnel syndrome
Our surgeons have two goals when treating your carpal tunnel syndrome: to allow you to return to your normal function and activities and to prevent nerve damage and the corresponding loss of muscle strength in your fingers and hands. As with all of our procedures at Texas Neurosurgery, we begin with conservative treatments first: anti-inflammatory drugs, splints, physical therapy, utilizing cold packs to reduce inflammation through the carpal tunnel, and maybe corticosteroid injections.
If these methods do not stop the pain and tingling in the fingers, our next option is to surgically relieve the pressure on the median nerve.
Carpal tunnel release
This procedure is called carpal tunnel release. It is an outpatient procedure that can be performed two ways: endoscopically or through an open procedure. Which method we opt to perform depends on the individual situation of each patient.
Open carpal tunnel release involves a two-inch incision in the middle of the palm. This provides the surgeon a better view of the treated area and involves less risk of accidentally damaging nerves in the area.
Endoscopic carpal tunnel release involves only two tiny incisions and makes for less post-operative pain and a faster return to work. There may be a slightly higher chance of needing another surgery down the road.
If you’ve noticed that you’re beginning to have to tingle in your fingers and pain in your wrist, you could be developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Call the team at Texas Neurosurgery, 214-823-2052, and let’s take a look.