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Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release

Endoscopic carpal tunnel release is a method of carpal tunnel surgery in which a specialized video camera is inserted into the wrist and carpal tunnel. During this procedure, an incision is made on the wrist, and the endoscope is inserted so the doctor can examine the inside of the carpal tunnel on a video screen. After locating the carpal ligament, the doctor can cut (or "release") it using a special device that is attached to the endoscope.

What Is Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release?

A carpal tunnel release is a procedure intended to relieve pressure on a specific nerve in your wrist, called the median nerve. When the median nerve is compressed, it will produce symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain -- usually in the thumb, index, and middle fingers. It is also common for your affected hand to feel clumsy.
One way to perform a carpal tunnel release is through a specialized video camera called an endoscope. This procedure is known as an endoscopic carpal tunnel release.

Beginning the Procedure

To begin the endoscopic carpal tunnel release, 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 an approximately one-inch incision, or cut, on the palm side of your wrist. Depending on the specific technique used, a second small incision may be made in your hand.
An instrument is then inserted into the carpal tunnel to guide the endoscope into place. The endoscope is a long, thin tube, about the size of a writing pen. It is similar to a camera because it allows your doctor to see inside your wrist by projecting the image onto a TV monitor. It can also take pictures and videotape the procedure.
Once inside the carpal tunnel, your surgeon can look at the carpal ligament, or the "ceiling" of the carpal tunnel, on a video screen.
After proper positioning of the endoscope away from the nerves and arteries, the carpal ligament is cut using a special device that is attached to the endoscope. The surgeon is able to confirm that the entire ligament is cut by watching it on the video screen.
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