Carpal tunnel release

The procedure involves cutting the band of fibers that traps the median nerve in the wrist.

Q: Why do I need the operation?

If you experience tingling, numbness or weakness in the hand this may be caused by pressure on the nerve supplying your fingers.

Q: How do I know for sure that I have this condition and that I need this operation?

Often the surgeon will send you off for a nerve conduction test to ensure that your symptoms are attributed to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Q: What scar will I have and what does the procedure involve?

You will have a scar measuring approximately 3cm on the palm of your hand running from the middle of the wrist crease towards the middle finger.  This allows the surgeon to cut down onto the fibers that is trapping your nerve and free it.

Q: What anaesthetic will I have and do I have a choice?

This procedure is often done under local anaesthetic with some or no sedation.  Alternatively you can have a general anaesthetic if you have any concerns.

Q: What are the possible complications and what are the chances they will occur?

There is a less than 1% chance that any nerve is injured during the procedure.

Q: What can I expect after the operation?

You will have a compression bandage over the actual dressing.  The compression bandage can be removed 24 hours later leaving only a small dressing.  This operation involves your hand, therefore driving is not recommended until you regain good movement and strength the hand. You should continue to move your fingers.  The surgeon may refer you to see a hand therapist if required for hand exercise.

Q: How long should I be off work?

This will depend on the nature of your work, but 3-5 days is usually the time you need prior to returning to clerical work.  Discuss your circumstances with the surgeon at the consultation.  

Q: When will I see my surgeon for review?

The surgeon will see you within 2 weeks of the operation and 6 weeks after that to ensure that you are satisfied with the operation and have good relief of your symptoms.