Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a progressive condition that causes pain, tingling and numbness in the hand with the symptoms more common at night.

In advanced cases we may see wasting and weakness of the muscles of the hand.

The condition is caused by compression of the Median nerve as it crosses the wrist within the carpal tunnel.

The diagnosis can be made clinically with a careful history and examination but should always be confirmed with Electrophysiological studies.

There are a few medical conditions that cause carpal tunnel syndrome such as Hypothyroidism, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Obesity, Gout, Hormonal imbalances to name a few.

The condition can also be brought on by repetitive movements of the hand and wrist, fractures in the area or cysts and tumours.

If the condition is in its early stages with mild symptoms there may be a trial of conservative measures which include;

  • Treating the underlying cause such as a medical condition
  • Resting the hand or ceasing repetitive movements that cause the symptoms
  • Placing the hand in a splint particularly at night
  • Non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or diuretics
  • Injections of steroids into the wrist

If these conservative measures fail or if you have significant symptoms, then surgery is a simple and effective treatment.  The surgeon will take a careful history and examine your hands.

If you have not already had electrical studies, they will be arranged for you. These are done by a Neurologist and not in our clinic.

Once the condition is confirmed you will have a further appointment to plan for surgery.

The procedure can be performed in hospital under light sedation and local anaesthetic, or it can be performed in our procedure room under local anaesthetic alone.

Please be advised that any surgery in a hospital will incur other costs payable to the hospital and to other specialists involved in your care. You will have an incision about 2 inches long across your wrist and hand. The transverse carpal ligament which forms the roof of the carpal tunnel is identified and cut to enlarge the tunnel and make more room for the Median nerve. Mr Salerno does not perform endoscopic Carpal Tunnel surgery. In most cases you will have dissolving stitches and you will have a large bandage on your hand. You will be given written instructions about the care of your wound and a follow up appointment will be made for you. It is important to allow a few weeks for your recovery. You may be required to have follow up with a hand therapist.
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