Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS ) should begin right away under the care of a physician. Non-surgical treatment options include rest, avoiding certain activities, physical therapy, and taking over-the-counter or prescription pain and anti-inflammatory medications. Splinting the wrist can help, yet studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicate that surgery is the most effective treatment for long-term relief.
Cooper University Hospital is one of the few providers in the area to offer single-port endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery.
Patients who choose this surgery benefit by:
- Shorter recovery periods
- Faster return to normal activities
- Decreased need for physical therapy
- No external stitches, wrist wraps or splints
Ten-Minute Outpatient Procedure for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
During the procedure, Cooper’s specially trained surgeon uses an endoscope, a minimally-invasive medical device that is both camera and cutting blade. The endoscope enables the doctor to view the structures in the wrist that cause the condition – the transverse carpal ligament and the median nerve – without the need to open the entire area.
Only one incision, less than a half inch wide, is made in the wrist. The endoscope is guided through the incision. The surgeon then cuts the transverse carpal ligament and releases the pressure on the median nerve, eliminating the cause of CTS. Only local anesthesia is required for the procedure.
Patients are encouraged to resume normal activities almost immediately. Recovery depends on how the patient uses his hands and on which hand was treated:
- Non-Dominant Hand — Most people return to normal activities and work in 1 to 2 days
- Dominant Hand — Recovery takes a bit longer and up to 4 weeks when the patient uses their hands at work
Although the surgery releases the pressure and relieves CTS symptoms, all pain and numbness may not go away immediately. It can take several months for the body to fill the gap that is created when the carpal ligament is cut. In rare cases, the pain and numbness can return or the patient can have temporary loss of hand and grip strength.
The risk and complication rates for this endoscopic surgical procedure are very low with less than 1% of patients experiencing complications.