Carpal tunnel syndrome

When nerves pass through natural bodily narrowings or tunnels, they can be compressed and affect arm function significantly as a result of various pathologic processes. Most characteristic complaints are arm pain, burning, and numbness of the arms and fingers (particularly during the night).

Carpal canal (tunnel) is a formation at the wrist, where flexor tendons and the median nerve pass, which provides sensation for most of the fingers. Diseases, injuries, overload or long-term repetitive movements can cause compression of the nerve. This causes a sensation of finger numbness, and pain and impairment of hand function with associated muscle wasting.

Initially, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with anti-inflammatory medicines or splints, but if they do not help then hand surgery can be performed. Endoscopic or conventional surgery can be performed. A small incision is made in the wrist during the surgery and under direct visual control or endoscopically, a ligament is divided to reduce the pressure in the carpal tunnel. In the world today, conventional surgeries are performed most often, because they have better results and fewer complications. Carpal tunnel syndrome is more common in females, patients with diabetes mellitus, as well as those with reduced function of the thyroid gland.

Often, people with carpal tunnel complaints are also diagnosed with disorders in other canals or even radices of the spinal cord.

Duration of the surgery: on average 0.5 hours.

Anaesthesia: local or general.

Treatment: in an out-patient setting.

Convalescence: following the surgery local discomfort and pain may occur, which is well controlled with analgesic tablets. The wound heals in 2 weeks. The wound should be dressed 2 to 3 times a week. After two weeks the skin sutures are removed. In parallel, during the postoperative period, ergotherapy and training of the movements in the fingers and hand may be necessary.

Result: the results of the surgery depend on the duration of nerve compression. Therefore it is important to visit the doctor in due time if the person has a feeling of numbness in the fingers, arm or hand.

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