When Is Surgery Recommended for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

When Is Surgery Recommended for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Your hands and wrists can suffer from conditions resulting in pain and dysfunction. At the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Dr. Michael L. Blackwell can diagnose and effectively treat your hand and wrist concerns.

One of the most common issues Dr. Blackwell sees in his patients in Kingwood, Tomball, and The Woodlands, Texas, is carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Blackwell is an expert in treating this painful condition, which can affect one or both of your hands and wrists, and he can advise you on the right plan to restore your dexterity and comfort.

In severe cases, carpal tunnel may require surgical treatment. Here’s what you need to know about using surgery to address carpal tunnel, and when surgery is the best treatment option.

Carpal tunnel syndrome pain and stress

The carpal tunnel is a narrow channel of bones and ligaments extending from the forearm to the hand. The median nerve and tendons run through that passageway, but any inflammation or thickening of ligaments may result in abnormal compression of the nerve.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can become a chronic condition. Symptoms typically include progressively worsening pain in the wrist and hand, as well as potential numbness, weakness, and loss of gripping strength and ability.

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome tend to get worse without the right care. This condition can even spread to cause shoulder pain.

Evaluating your case

Dr. Blackwell diagnoses cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as other hand and wrist conditions. The team at the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine helps you to better understand your condition, symptoms, and treatment needs.

We recommend the most conservative treatment plan that will work for you. Conservative treatment options for carpal tunnel include heat and icing therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and wrist or finger splinting. 

However, for severe cases, surgical carpal tunnel release may be necessary to address the problem effectively.

Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome

Dr. Blackwell may recommend surgical treatment if your condition hasn’t improved after conservative treatment. You likely need carpal tunnel release surgery if your symptoms have lasted for at least six months without substantial improvement.

You may also need surgery based on progression of your condition. As carpal tunnel syndrome advances, your hand and wrist muscles can shrink because of the nerve compression, causing lasting weakness. Surgery prevents carpal tunnel syndrome from leaving lasting damage.

Several types of surgical procedures can successfully address carpal tunnel syndrome, including endoscopic carpal tunnel release. 

Dr. Blackwell keeps your procedure as minimally invasive as possible, reducing your risks and recovery time. Your procedure is typically completed on an outpatient basis, allowing you to head home afterward.

You need time to recover after carpal tunnel surgery, up to a few months. If Dr. Blackwell recommends surgery for you, he discusses your treatment plan and makes sure you understand what to expect in terms of your recovery.

For diagnosis and treatment of hand and wrist pain, numbness, or weakness, contact Dr. Blackwell at the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine for an appointment today, or book online.

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