Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO
Do you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a painful disorder that causes pain, weakness and numbness of the hand? While most common in women over the age of 55, CTS can occur in men and women of all ages. It is typically associated with the use of heavy equipment, repetitive tasks, and gripping.
If you have been diagnosed with CTS, then your orthopedic surgeon may have discussed surgical options with you. Carpal tunnel release surgery may be performed one of two ways: (1) in a traditional “open” procedure or (2) endoscopically.
Open vs. Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
In the open approach, the surgeon will make an incision about two inches in length on the wrist and palm.
In an endoscopic approach, the surgeon makes a one centimeter incision along the wrist crease instead of the single large incision. The small incision in an endoscopic procedure is used for inserting a camera, which can provide visualization during the surgery, and also contains the scalpel blade which is deployed with a push of a button to perform the release of the transverse carpal ligament.
There are alternative endoscopic surgical approaches. Patients with previous trauma or surgery to the wrist and hand might not be appropriate candidates for this procedure. You can ask your orthopedic surgeon if you are a candidate for endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery.
Is Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery Right for Me?
The decision to have either an open or endoscopic procedure is one you will need to talk about with your doctor. Patients who undergo endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery often experience a faster recovery than patients who undergo an open version of the same procedure. While the potential differences in recovery time may not be sufficient enough for all patients to choose endoscopic over open surgery, this potential benefit may be desirable for patients who are having surgery on both wrists at the same time, as well as patients with other unique circumstances. Overall, medical researchers have not proven one approach to be better than the other in the long run.
What Is the Recovery Process Like?
Patients typically have a faster recovery after endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery. Pain and numbness resolves almost immediately for some patients, while others may experience these symptoms for several weeks or months following surgery. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions for rest and recovery based on which hand was operated on (dominant or non-dominant), the type of work you do, and other factors.
See a Houston Orthopedic Surgeon for Carpal Tunnel Surgery
For more information about endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery and your treatment options in Houston, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Patients may schedule online or by calling (713) 756-5546.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.