Is It Time For Carpal Tunnel Surgery?
Some people enduring years of carpal tunnel pain may opt for surgery. The carpal tunnel is a channel in the wrist that nerves and ligaments pass through. Sometimes, the ligaments become inflamed due to overuse or repetitive motions like typing. These inflamed ligaments press on nerves that pass through the carpal tunnel, causing pain and discomfort. Most surgical patients are anxious about the recovery period to get back to work as soon as possible.
Going under the knife
Carpal tunnel release surgery is a minimally invasive procedure to reduce pain and discomfort. First, the surgeon uses an endoscope, a thin tube with a camera attached, to view the inflamed ligaments. Then, small tools through a second incision help the surgeon cut and move damaged ligaments. These incisions give the nerves and tendons much-needed room. Afterward, the surgeon closes the incisions and bandages the wrist. In most cases, the patient can leave the same day and begin recovery at home.
It’s time for your recovery
The advantage of endoscopic surgery is that the recovery time is significantly shorter than conventional open surgery. So if the procedure is available, speak with the surgeon about using minimally invasive means. The wrist will be in a splint for the first 2 weeks. After that, patients will focus on pain management, including the RICE technique, since the pain can increase after surgery. Avoid lifting heavy objects or moving the wrist in unnatural positions. After 2 weeks, the surgeon removes the stitches to continue the recovery period. On average, recovery can take 3-4 months.
Here’s when you could type again
Typing involves repeated motions, which can strain the healing wrists. Suppose the surgeon treated both wrists. The recovery period before typing is typically 6-8 weeks. The patient should feel relief and an improved range of motion by this time. If surgery happened on the non-dominant hand, light activities could occur in half that time on the doctor’s approval. Monitor pain in the wrist and take the necessary rest and pain medication. In about 3-4 months, patients should be fully recovered and experience the benefits of surgery.
Tips for self-care
There are some handy steps surgery patients can use to improve recovery. During recovery, self-care is crucial. Make sure to get adequate sleep and drink lots of water. Both habits will increase the speed of recovery. Avoid foods that cause inflammation like processed foods, fried foods, and saturated fats. Finally, follow the physical therapy instructions provided by the doctor or physical therapist. These exercises strengthen the surrounding muscles and reduce pain. Make sure to set up surroundings to protect the rest and stay elevated. If there is excessive pain, swelling, or fever, seek medical help immediately.
Back to work in no time
Carpal tunnel release surgery can ease the pain caused by chronic carpal tunnel. The surgery has both high success and low-risk rates. On average, recovery can take 3-4 months with proper pain management and self-care. Patients who type should resume light work in half the recovery time under the guidance of a doctor. With these timeframes in mind, speak with a surgeon to get the pain under control as soon as possible.