Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a frustrating condition that develops when your wrist’s median nerve, which brings sensation to most of your fingers, gets compressed. This puts extra pressure on the nerve and triggers weakness, numbness, and tingling.
While anyone can get diagnosed with CTS, if you have a hobby or job that involves repetitive wrist motions, your risk of developing the condition increases. Women are also more likely to develop the condition compared to men, as are people with certain chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or arthritis.
Different therapies are available to address carpal tunnel syndrome. One of the most effective solutions when more conservative treatments don’t work is minimally invasive hand surgery at Carl N. Williams, Jr. M.D. Hand and Plastic Surgery in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This surgery releases the median nerve by cutting the ligament. This creates more room in the tunnel through which the nerve passes, helping ease the frustrating symptoms CTS causes.
If you’re considering or you’re scheduled for carpal tunnel surgery, here’s a look at what you can expect as you recover.
Plan for time off, and follow instructions
Even though carpal tunnel surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis and you can expect to return home soon after your procedure, you still need to plan for some downtime. In the weeks after your surgery, expect to rest more to help speed your recovery.
Keep in mind that everyone recovers differently after carpal tunnel surgery depending on the severity of their condition, symptoms, age, overall health, and more. Dr. Williams gives you personalized recommendations for time off based on your unique situation.
Be sure to follow your care team’s instructions — especially regarding rest. Trying to do too much too soon can set back your recovery and may even cause lasting problems.
Anticipate some physical limitations
After the procedure, your surgical team bandages and splints your hand. This helps promote healing and minimize swelling while you heal. You can expect to have this bandaging in place for up to two weeks.
You should keep your hand elevated at night and when you rest to also help keep swelling and discomfort at bay. In addition, while you won’t be able to use your hand during your early recovery period, you should move your fingers gently throughout the day to promote blood circulation and maintain your finger muscles.
You’ll have a follow-up appointment for bandage removal and so Dr. Williams can check your recovery.
Watch for complications
Carpal tunnel surgery is a safe and effective treatment. However, like all surgeries, it carries some risks. Your pain may be worse as the anesthetic wears off but should improve in the days following your treatment. If the pain worsens instead of improving, call your Carl N. Williams, Jr. M.D. Hand and Plastic Surgery provider.
Other signs of problems following carpal tunnel release include:
- Redness around the incision site
- Bleeding or other drainage
Get medical attention for these issues right away as they could be a sign of infection.
Expect physical therapy
Most people start physical therapy soon after their bandage removal. This program provides you with therapeutic exercises to strengthen muscles in your hand, fingers, and wrist, to promote flexibility and range of motion, and to facilitate healing.
Your provider may recommend wearing a splint or brace outside of physical therapy to help keep your wrist stable as you recover. You may wear a brace or splint for a month or more following your surgery.
Learn more about CTS and the surgery many patients turn to for relief by scheduling a consultation online or over the phone at Carl N. Williams, Jr. M.D. Hand and Plastic Surgery.