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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is probably our most common hand condition to present to clinic. It is caused by pressure on one of the nerves that runs across the wrist into the hand (Median Nerve). Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are varied but are usually a combination of pain, altered sensation and tingling in the thumb, index and middle finger.

Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome always need an operation?

When the problem occurs it does not always require an operation. Some conditions such as pregnancy cause the symptoms to occur but usually resolve spontaneously after delivery of the baby. Some patients who experience symptoms mainly at night may respond well to wrist splints. Some patients respond to a steroid injection into the carpal tunnel.

When is an operation needed for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

If the symptoms are persistent, prevent sleep, normal daily activities, and have not responded to these treatments, an operation would be recommended.

What does the operation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome involve?

The operation is usually a day case procedure (which means you usually come in and go home on the day), under local anaethestic (which means you will be awake, but have a numb hand).

What happens after the operation?

After the operation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome you will have to stay for a couple of hours, to make sure you are comfortable. It is advisable to arrange home helps, or friends as you will only be able to use one hand for a few days. Initially you have a large padded bandage, but after 72 hours you can reduce this. There will be a small adhesive dressing over the wound protecting the actual wound. You need to keep the initial dressing dry.

When do I get seen again?

We will usually see you back in the clinic at around 10 days for removal of the stitches. The next appointment would be around 6 weeks. You will usually be able to drive after a few weeks, If, you have minimal pain. You must be able to perform all manoeuvres safely within the car.

More detailed information can be obtained from the NHS website: Carpal tunnel syndrome

Patient Information Leaflet

Download a patient information leaflet on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from the British Society for Surgery.

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