After the anesthesia has taken effect, a tourniquet or blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm to temporarily stop the blood flow to your hand and wrist. This allows your doctor to see the surgical area clearly.
To help reduce the chance of infection, the area will be scrubbed with a special soap, and you will be covered with sterile sheets. The only area exposed will be your forearm and hand.
Your doctor will then begin by making a 2 - 3 inch incision or cut on the palm side of your wrist. If you are awake, you might feel some pressure as this incision is made. Your doctor will then locate the carpal ligament, which is the ceiling of the carpal tunnel. This ligament will then slowly be cut.
Once the entire ligament has been cut, the tendons in the carpal tunnel are examined. If the synovial coverings on the tendons are excessively thickened, they are removed to allow more space for the nerve. This will not affect the tendon function.
The carpal ligament, which is the ligament that is cut, is left open, rather then sewn together. This gap eventually fills with scar tissue.
The wound may be rinsed, and the skin is closed with stitches. A bandage and splint are placed on the hand and forearm.
At the end of the procedure you will be awakened while still in the operating room and then transported to recovery for a brief period of wake up time afterwards.