nerve is a nerve which supplies sensation and strength to
a portion of the hand. It passes through the wrist,
and is occasionally compressed by a ligament in the wrist
known as the carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel release
is a procedure to decompress the median nerve which runs through
the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Surgery is generally
performed using a local anesthetic, along with intravenous
sedation. Once the ligament covering the nerve is divided,
and the nerve felt to be free, the wound is closed.
The nerve can take up to 18 months to undergo its full potential
tunnel release is a frequently performed surgery.
Risks of the procedure can be broken down into two categories,
1) those related to the operative site, and 2) those related
to the risks of anesthesia.
related to the operative site:
Exposure: The patient is placed in a supine position
(on their back). In this position,
there can be pressure sores and pressure injuries
to nerves. During surgical dissection, injury to
muscle, nerves and blood vessels in the area can occur.
injuries: If there is any injury to the nerves in the
forearm and hand, the consequences may involve loss of sensation,
increased burning sensation, paralysis, weakness.
If these is injury to the blood vessels, there could be
injury to the survivability of some of the tissues in the
hand and forearm.
Risks: These include general difficulties,
such as bleeding, infection, stroke, paralysis, coma and
death. There is also the possibility that the surgery
may not relieve the symptoms for which the procedure was
performed. The problem for which the surgery was performed
may recur, requiring additional surgery in the future.
In addition, although every attempt is made to protect all
areas of the body from pressure on nerves, skin and bones,
injuries to these areas can occur, particularly with prolonged
A local anesthetic is generally used. Blood clots
in the legs, heart attacks, reaction to the anesthetic,
reaction to blood transfusion, if given.
shall be no heavy lifting until cleared by the surgeon.
Be patient with the nerve healing. Numbness may persist
for a long time or indefinitely, or it may improve.
The following is a list of suggestions that should
help speed your recovery and give you every possible chance
for the best results from your surgery.
upon discharge, contact our office and set up an appointment
for staple removal if one has not already been made.
it easy until seen by the physician. This does not
mean bed rest, but athletic activities during this period
are definitely not recommended. Please give your
incision a chance to heal. Avoid bending.
your sling if prescribed by your surgeon.
nothing heavier than a half gallon of milk until seen
by your doctor.
hour, while awake, wiggle the fingers, and gently squeeze
a foam cushion or sponge, if advised by your surgeon.
you get home, you may begin walking up to one mile per
may walk up or down steps as often as you like.
Please take them smoothly and slowly.
driving until OK with your physician. This
applies during the first month after surgery.
may shower after you go home unless otherwise instructed.
Cover the incision with plastic wrap before the shower
and remove it afterward. Change dressing immediately.
Tub baths are not advisable. You may shower without
covering the incision one week after the sutures are out.
Follow instructions concerning care of tape strips, stitches
or staples. Your surgeon or nurse clinician
will explain the techniques used in the closure of your
activities are permitted.
you notice swelling, redness or opening of the incision,
or if there is any fluid draining from it, please
contact your surgeon immediately! If you develop
a fever, stiff neck or chills, contact the office immediately.
Take your temperature at 4:00 PM daily until the clips
are removed. Call if greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
you have any questions, call our office, and for after
hours emergencies, call the after hours number.
your medications prescribed on discharge, as directed.
takes 6 - 18 months for a nerve to heal. During
that time you may experience numbness, tingling, fleeting
pain, or creepy/crawly sensations.