Carpal tunnel is a condition that causes pain and loss of mobility in the hand and fingers. Surgery may be appropriate if symptoms are severe or don’t respond to other treatments. The goal of carpal tunnel surgery is to relieve pressure by cutting the ligament pressing on the median nerve.
The surgery may be performed with two different techniques:
- Endoscopic surgery: Your surgeon uses a telescope-like device with a tiny camera attached to it (endoscope) to see inside the carpal tunnel. Your surgeon cuts the ligament through one or two small incisions in the hand or wrist. Some surgeons may use ultrasound instead of a telescope to guide the tool that cuts the ligament. Endoscopic surgery may result in less pain than does open surgery in the first few days or weeks after surgery.
- Open surgery: Your surgeon makes an incision in the palm of the hand over the carpal tunnel and cuts through the ligament to free the nerve.
During the healing process after the surgery, the ligament tissues gradually grow back together while allowing more room for the nerve. This internal healing process typically takes several months, but the skin heals in a few weeks.
Your provider generally will encourage you to use the hand after the ligament has healed, gradually working back to normal use of the hand while initially avoiding forceful hand motions or extreme wrist positions. Soreness or weakness may take from several weeks to a few months to resolve after surgery.
The above information is for general education purposes only. Please ask your doctor specific questions during your visit.