Due to repetitive stress injuries, the carpal ligament in the wrist of some individuals becomes swollen and constricts the median nerve. This constriction causes the pain and numbness associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel surgery is an operation in which a doctor cuts through this ligament to release the compression of the median nerve. While the surgery relieves symptoms in some people, there can be problems after the surgery.
The incision that is made to sever the carpal ligament can go from the middle of the palm into the wrist area. In some, the incision leaves a scar, which can be extremely sensitive. The scar tissue can also limit mobility in the wrist, as well as potentially causing future compression of the median nerve.
Individuals who have gone through carpal tunnel surgery, also known as open release surgery, may experience a loss of sensation in their hands, or diminished hand strength. The numbness or weakness can be a temporary or permanent result from the carpal tunnel surgery. Patients often benefit from rehabilitation exercises to combat this side effect.
Carpal tunnel surgery does not instantly cure the disorder and requires work on the part of the patient. After carpal tunnel surgery, recovering individuals are required to go through rehabilitation to ensure the successful healing of the operation site. During the rehabilitation period, they are required to perform hand and finger stretches, limit movement of the wrist and avoid lifting any heavy weights. Despite rehabilitation, individuals recovering from carpal tunnel surgery must often change careers to avoid the activity that triggered their carpal tunnel problems.
During the operation, an incision is made to sever the carpal ligament, which holds the median nerve and the tendons of the hand. Due to the fact that the median nerve is quite close to the carpal ligament, it is possible for the doctor to damage the nerve during the procedure. This damage can cause permanent loss of sensation or strength in the hand.
Once the carpal ligament has been severed during surgery, it will typically grow back together. In many cases, the carpal tunnel returns to the same size it was before the surgery, which results in a return of the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. It is also possible for the scar tissue in the carpal ligament to result in a carpal tunnel with a smaller diameter and even more severe symptoms than existed before the surgery.