Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes the median nerve to be subjected to more pressure than it is able to withstand. This nerve is located in the wrist and is responsible for giving the hand sensation and movement in some parts.
Carpal tunnel symptoms
When suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, the main symptoms are numbness in the area, tingling sensation, weakness, or muscle damage in the hand and fingers.
Other more common symptoms are:
- Difficulty in grasping objects with the hand.
- The thumb, followed by the next three fingers, have numbness and a tingling sensation. May also be felt in the palm of the hand.
- Pain radiating from the hand to the elbow.
- Localised pain in the hand or wrist
- Problems coordinating fine movements
- Atrophy of the muscle underneath the thumb
- Difficulty carrying objects or bags.
- Weakness in one or both hands
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes
This condition can be caused by the use of tools or utensils that produce vibration in the area, as well as other activities such as typing on the keyboard, using a computer mouse, playing an instrument, etc. These activities, among others, can cause inflammation and narrowing of the carpal tunnel, leading to pain in the area.
High alcohol consumption, previous or current bone fractures, arthritis in the wrist, cysts or tumours in the area, infections, overweight, fluid retention during pregnancy and menopause, or rheumatoid arthritis are some of the possible causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment
Once diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, our carpal tunnel specialist, Dr. Juan F. Martínez Canca, will recommend wearing a splint at night, avoiding sleeping on your wrists and applying cold or heat to the affected area. In addition, he may prescribe the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid injections to alleviate the symptoms.
If none of these treatments are successful, carpal tunnel release surgery will be performed. In the long term, surgical treatment is the only and best solution for carpal tunnel syndrome.
What does carpal tunnel release surgery consist of?
It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which the ligament that is putting pressure on the nerve is cut. The anaesthesia used is local and the patient can leave the hospital the same day of the operation. Once at home, it is advisable to make small movements with the hand and wrist to avoid stiffness and swelling.
The estimated time in the operating theatre is usually between 15 and 60 minutes, so it is fairly quick. A wrist brace specially designed for this type of surgery may be recommended for the first three weeks. In addition, overexertion and awkward wrist positions should be avoided.
Generally, this is a fairly effective surgery, but it will always depend on the individual patient. Recovery after the operation usually takes about two months.
After the operation, the patient may feel discomfort or swelling in the area, although our medical team will prescribe the appropriate medication to mitigate this. After 4 to 6 months the patient will be fully recovered. The innovative techniques used allow for a rapid recovery and a reduction in the number of complications during surgery.
At Titanium Clinic we are specialists in this type of hand surgery. Do not hesitate to contact us for your first check-up if you think you may suffer from this syndrome.