Carpal Tunnel Syndrome belongs to a family of medical conditions known as Nerve Compression Syndromes. Symptoms are produced when nerves are compressed by surrounding soft tissue. This problem may begin with pain and tingling in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers as a result of compression of the median nerve at the wrist. The symptoms will progress to pain in the hand and wrist, which may radiate up the arm. Findings may include chronic weakness and loss of coordination in the affected extremity. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can usually be confirmed with a nerve conduction study.
Carpal tunnel syndrome may also be associated with medical conditions such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, obesity, arthritis, pregnancy, and other medical conditions in which fluid retention is common. Inflammation such as tenosynovitis, and lesions such as ganglion cysts or tumors of the wrist, can cause median nerve compression carpal tunnel symptoms. Treatment of the symptoms needs to be based on the cause and surgery is to be tried only after proper conservative therapy has been tried and failed.
Surgical techniques fall into two classes; the traditional open approach or the newer endoscopic techniques. Any procedure performed should be selected based on the benefit to the patient. Procedures of equal benefit can be selected based on ease of performance, speed of recovery, or cost. The traditional open technique leaves a four centimeter incision on the wrist and palm of the patient, and as a result produces a longer recovery than the endoscopic technique. The endoscopic procedure places multiple smaller incisions on the hand, allowing for a shorter recovery, but is costlier.
At Soderstrom Skin Institute, a modified open procedure is usually performed. Dr. Lomax has performed this procedure for over 20 years and is pleased to provide this alternative to patients. A two centimeter incision is placed at the wrist and does not extend up onto the palm of the hand. The soft tissue covering the carpal ligament is then dissected free. A special retractor is used to expose the ligament and allow the operating surgeon to divide the ligament under direct visualization. The retractor is removed and the wound is closed with buried sutures. The surgery is quick and simple. It allows the patient to return to normal activities as fast as an endoscopic procedure with the cost of the less expensive open technique.
As with any surgery, risks include and are not limited to anesthetic risk, scarring, bleeding, infection, and nerve injury.
All surgical procedures require an initial consultation appointment. For more information or to schedule your appointment please call Soderstrom Skin Institute at 1-888-970-7546.