Carpal tunnel surgery is performed under local anesthesia and is an outpatient surgery. The surgeon makes an incision in the wrist and palm of the hand. She then cuts the carpal ligament and releases the median nerve to eventually relieve carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. After the surgery, the surgeon puts in stitches in the wrist and the palm of the hand.
During carpal tunnel surgery the patient's hand and wrist are numbed with local anesthesia. There is no pain during the carpal tunnel surgery itself. Some do feel tugging during the surgery, due to the carpal ligament being cut to release the median nerve. Some also state they have felt tugging when the stitches are put in.
After Surgery Pain
After having carpal tunnel surgery it is expected for an individual to experience pain. Swelling, stiffness, burning and aching pain can occur. Patients usually describe pain after carpal tunnel surgery as mild to moderate. Very few individuals complain of unbearable pain. The doctor generally prescribes edication to help with the pain and swelling.
How Long the Pain Lasts
Pain after carpal tunnel surgery is very common. Some state they have pain for between four and six months after the surgery. Pain that has lasted for up to six months can be normal. However, it is very important to notify your physician if the pain is very bothersome.
After Surgery Care
Once the physician has completed the carpal tunnel surgery, he will usually wrap the hand and wrist in gauze. Do not remove the gauze or get the hand or wrist wet for 48 hours after surgery. After surgery the physician will request a follow-up visit. Physicians advise to keep the hand and wrist elevated above the heart to prevent swelling. Most physicians also advise the individual to immediately start wiggling their fingers to prevent stiffness that could occur.
Carpal tunnel surgery works differently for each person. Some show no signs of recovery after the surgery has been performed; those that show no signs of improvement can opt for the surgery to be performed again or can try physical therapy. Doctors often advise physical therapy whether the surgery has been beneficial or not. Physical therapy will help with strengthening the muscles in the hand and wrist. It is very important to notify the physician if you see no changes after carpal tunnel surgery.