Carpal tunnel syndrome is an issue that’s caused by compression of a nerve, which is called your median nerve. This causes pain in your hand and fingers, making it hard to do even the simplest of tasks. Surgery is sometimes necessary to relieve your symptoms, especially when other methods haven’t worked.
At Meridian Plastic Surgery, located in Meridian, Mississippi, our team specializes in a number of hand problems, including carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Lee Thornton and Dr. Mark Elliott are our two board-certified plastic surgeons, who offer carpal tunnel release surgery when your symptoms are affecting your life.
Signs of carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel symptoms begin slowly and get worse over time. Without early intervention, the symptoms of this disorder become severe, causing discomfort throughout the day and at night.
The median nerve, which is the nerve responsible for the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome, innervates the thumb, ring finger, middle finger, and index finger. This is why many of the symptoms only affect those four digits, and not your little finger.
If you have carpal tunnel issues, your symptoms may vary, depending on the severity of your condition and how long you’ve had it. Some of the most apparent signs of carpal tunnel problems include:
- Numbness and tingling in your hand and fingers
- Burning-like pain in your fingers
- Weakness in your hand
- Frequently dropping objects
- Pain, especially at night
- Shock-like pain that travels up your arm
You may notice that it’s hard to perform delicate tasks with your fingers, such as tying your shoes or fastening a button on a shirt. This is due to the weakness that’s caused by compression of the median nerve.
When do you need carpal tunnel surgery?
In the early stages of carpal tunnel, conservative measures are usually enough to ease your symptoms and keep the condition from getting worse. Some of these treatments include wrist splints, ice and heat, and physical therapy.
Anti-inflammatory medications and injections in your wrist are also helpful with mild to moderate symptoms. However, if your carpal tunnel symptoms have surpassed the moderate stage into the severe stage, these measures may not be enough to give you substantial relief.
In this case, you might want to consider carpal tunnel surgery. If you’ve tried conservative measures without significant relief, Dr. Thornton and Dr. Elliott recommend surgical intervention to relieve your symptoms for good.
If your pain is affecting the way you live or work, it’s also a good time to consider surgery. Carpal tunnel syndrome can make it difficult to get through your day successfully, especially if you use your hands a lot.
Ultimately, the decision for surgery is made between you and Dr. Thornton or Dr. Elliott. They use imaging studies and review your symptoms to determine if surgery is the best option for you.
How is carpal tunnel surgery performed?
Carpal tunnel release surgery is performed either through an open procedure or endoscopically. The goal of both of these procedures is to take the excess pressure off of your median nerve by cutting the transverse carpal ligament. This ligament lies over the carpal tunnel, on top of the median nerve.
Both procedures are usually performed on an outpatient basis. This means you can go home the same day as your procedure. Either procedure can be performed using general anesthesia, sedation, or local anesthesia. This is discussed with you and Dr. Thornton or Dr. Elliott before your procedure.
The only difference between the two procedures is that a camera and light are used in the endoscopic surgery, where our surgeons visualize your ligaments without the camera in open surgery.
The outcomes of both procedures are very similar, and both are successful in relieving the pain and symptoms related to carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you can’t bear the pain of carpal tunnel anymore and are interested in a surgical consultation, call our office in Meridian, Mississippi today at 601-693-7742. You can also book an appointment on the website using the scheduling tool.