Carpal Tunnel Home > Complications of Carpal Tunnel Release

Possible complications of carpal tunnel release can range from minor bleeding to loss of life. Minor complications (such as numbness around the incision and abnormal scar formation) are usually temporary and easily treated by your healthcare provider. More serious complications can result in a longer hospital stay or a repeat surgery. Major problems include damage to the median nerve, serious infection, and incomplete release of the carpal ligament.

Does Carpal Tunnel Release Cause Complications?

No procedure is ever completely free of risks. However, carpal tunnel release has been performed for many years with successful results and limited complications.
We will now discuss the possible minor and major complications that can occur. Minor complications are, in most cases, temporary and often easily treated by healthcare professionals.

Minor Complications of Carpal Tunnel Release

Minor complications of carpal tunnel release may include:
  • Minor bleeding
  • Infection
  • Numbness around the incision
  • Wrist stiffness
  • Persistent swelling
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Painful or abnormal scar formation
  • Allergic skin reaction to tape, dressing, or latex.

Major Complications of Carpal Tunnel Release

There are a number of major complications that can possibly occur. However, these complications are very uncommon. Your overall health will play a role in your likelihood of developing complications and your ability to recover from them. For example, patients with severe heart disease, diabetes, and lung or kidney disease may have a higher chance of complications than those who are healthier.
Depending on the individual situation, a major complication may lead to a longer hospital stay, a repeat surgery, or, in infrequent cases, permanent disability or even loss of life.
Major complications of carpal tunnel release include, but are not limited to:
  • Damage to the median nerve or its branches
  • Damage to the ulnar nerve, which is a nerve in your hand that lies near the median nerve.
  • Damage to the artery in the palm of your hand
  • Numbness in the palm or fingers
  • Incomplete release of the carpal ligament
  • Serious infection
  • Finger stiffness
  • Continued pain
  • Allergic reaction to medication
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Loss of life
  • Other rare and improbable events.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation



Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2020 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.