You are sleeping, and you wake up yet again with tingling, numbness and pain in your hands and fingers. And if that isn’t bad enough, you are dealing with the same symptoms as you try to work at your desk all day.
You probably have carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition in the wrist caused by a variety of factors but ultimately it compresses a nerve that passes through a passage in your wrist called the carpal tunnel. If conservative measures like bracing fail, the best way to relieve the pressure on this nerve is to cut, or release, the carpal ligament. This eliminates the pressure so you no longer suffer from pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand and arm or weakness in your grip.
Dr. Jonathan Slaughter, an affiliated hand and upper extremity surgeon from OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine who practices at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, performs traditional and endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery.
Traditional carpal tunnel release surgery has been around for decades. It is a procedure involving an incision at the wrist that is effective at eliminating the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. But there is a minimally invasive option called endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery that has some added benefits.
Benefits of Endoscopic Surgery
Not only does endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery relieve pain and restore proper function to your wrist, but because it is done using minimally invasive techniques it has additional benefits, including:
- No hospital stay – you can return home immediately after surgery.
- A shorter recovery period – often you can return to work within days.
- No anesthesia – it is performed under local anesthesia, eliminating the need for sedation.
- Low risk of nerve damage – the procedure has less than one percent risk of nerve damage.
Dr. Slaughter describes the procedure, “This surgery requires a very small incision on the palm side of the wrist. That is where I insert a small camera with cutting attachment. I locate the carpal ligament and cut it, releasing the pressure that was on the median nerve.”
The surgery is performed while the patient is wide-awake and because only a small incision is used, you go home with just one Band-Aid on your hand.
Ninety-five percent of people that have carpal tunnel release surgery feel they are cured or have significant improvement. When you compare open or traditional surgery with endoscopic surgery the results are similar after six months. However, open surgery typically has a longer recovery period with longer time before returning to work.
Dr. Slaughter said, “Patients that have this procedure are some of my favorite patients to see at the post-op visit because their lives have improved so much. They can sleep through the night without waking up again, they may have slight soreness in their palm, but they are regaining strength and don’t have the numbness and pain anymore.”
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call our affiliated orthopaedic surgeons from OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine at (859) 301-BONE (2663).