Is Carpal Tunnel Surgery for You?
By Western Berks on March 21st, 2016
Surgery is never something to be taken lightly, but when you are suffering from a painful, persistent condition like carpal tunnel syndrome, it may be the only way to find relief. If your doctor has recommended surgery to treat your carpal tunnel syndrome, consider all the factors. Normally, conservative treatments should be attempted to treat this condition before surgical measures are taken, but every case is different. Here is a list of some things to discuss with your doctor if you are considering surgery:
- Understand the alternative treatments available to you, including activity modification, splints, stretching and strengthening exercises, icing and certain medications or injections. Most doctors will suggest trying one or several of these methods for two to three months before recommending surgery.
- Serious, long-term carpal tunnel syndrome can result in permanent nerve damage. Even on a smaller scale, this condition can restrict your daily activities and cause pain and discomfort. If conservative treatments are not working, surgery may indeed be the most appropriate option.
- Like any surgery, there are risks involved. About 5 percent of people who have carpal tunnel surgery suffer some sort of complication. Also, there is no guarantee of success—while most people find significant pain relief from surgery, some find their symptoms are not significantly better, or even worse, than before surgery.
Two types of surgery are performed on carpal tunnel patients: open and endoscopic. Both are performed to release pressure on the median nerve of the wrist. Since there are advantages and disadvantages to both types, talk to your doctor about which option is better for you.
A period of rest is necessary after surgery. Endoscopic surgery requires anywhere from a few days to four weeks of recovery; open surgery may require up to 12 weeks. Full strength may not return to the wrist for as long as a year. Through a series of stretching and strengthening exercises, Western Berks Physical Therapy can help ensure as complete a recovery as possible no matter how severe the surgery is, with the optimal goal of permanent pain relief.