Carpal tunnel syndrome is when the median nerve in your wrist is compressed, which then causes numbness, tingling, and even pain for the sufferer. People who get carpal tunnel syndrome usually have jobs where they must make repetitive motions with their hands, wrists, and fingers. While there are some non-surgical treatment options for this condition, many people often find the only way to get true and lasting relief from their carpal tunnel symptoms is through surgery. If you find that surgery is your best solution, here are three tips to help your prepare for it.
1. Gain an understanding of the type of carpal tunnel surgery you are getting.
There are two different types of carpal tunnel surgery: open carpal tunnel release and endoscopic carpal tunnel release. Both surgeries involve cutting the transverse carpal ligament. The difference is in the incision that is made, so be sure to ask which surgery you're getting.
With open carpal tunnel release surgery, there is a larger incision cut into the base of your palm. It is called "open" surgery because the incision needs to be large enough that the surgeon can open it up to get to the transverse carpal ligament. The surgeon then cuts the ligament and closes the incision site. Because of the extent of the incision, a full recovery from this type of surgery usually takes around three months.
On the other hand, endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery uses very small incisions - either one or two, depending on what the surgeon needs. A very thin tube with a camera and tiny cutting tools is then inserted through the small incision and the transverse carpal ligament is cut. Since the incision is so small, complete recovery doesn't usually take as long. Most patients are fully recovered within a month.
2. Arrange for help in doing basic tasks after your surgery.
If you are only getting carpal tunnel surgery on one hand, you may think that you can get by accomplishing daily tasks with your untreated hand. However, this may not be the case. If you have carpal tunnel symptoms in both hands, it is normal to only have one surgically treated at a time.
That means that, even though you have another hand you can use to do things such as brush your teeth, you could still need help with cooking and even putting on your clothes. Arrange to have someone, such as a family member or very close friend, to help you get these things done. That way you don't risk hurting your treated hand during recovery.
3. Realize that you may need physical therapy.
Some people think that getting the surgery will be a magical cure and they will be fine as long as the incision site heals properly. However, many patients find that they need to use physical therapy exercises after their carpal tunnel release surgery.
You may need to see a physical therapist initially, but you can also do hand and wrist exercises by yourself at home. Some examples of physical therapy exercises you can do after your surgery are wrist exercises and thumb flexion. These are designed to help you get full recovery of your hand and wrist after you have the surgical procedure done.
For further assistance, contact professionals, such as those from Town Center Orthopaedic Associates.