Carpal Tunnel Home > Carpal Tunnel Surgery

When Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery Needed?

People with medical conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis are more often affected with carpal tunnel syndrome. It is also more common during pregnancy, after wrist injuries, and in people who perform repetitive tasks with their hands.
The goal of carpal tunnel surgery is to relieve pressure on a specific nerve in the wrist, called the median nerve. When the median nerve is compressed, symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and pain (usually in the thumb, index, and middle fingers) begin to develop (see Reasons for Carpal Tunnel Release).
Although there are several nonsurgical methods that may help relieve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, the most effective solution is to perform a carpal tunnel surgery, which can help minimize symptoms and prevent any further damage to the hand and wrist.

Preparing for Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Carpal tunnel surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that you go home the day of your surgery. For your particular situation, you will be given specific instructions as to where and when to arrive at the medical facility, how to prepare for your surgery, and what to expect the day of and in the days following your surgery.
You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for at least eight hours before the surgery. In addition, dietary restrictions may be made by your doctor. Due to medications often used for carpal tunnel surgery, you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours afterward. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home.

Types of Carpal Tunnel Surgery

There are two different techniques used in carpal tunnel surgery: open release and endoscopic. Although each procedure is performed differently, they share the same results and complications.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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