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 incision or cut on the palm side of your wrist that is approximately one inch long. 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 in that 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. The wound may then be cleaned and 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.