Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A common but easily treated problem. If surgery is needed, it's a 5-minute procedure, local anesthesia, and works great!
We have a live video of this here.

What is it?
Carpal tunnel is a pinched nerve in the wrist that causes numbness and tingling in the fingers, most often the thumb, index and middle fingers. Nighttime symptoms are common, as is shaking the hand to wake it up.

What causes it?
Nobody is certain, but using the hand a lot for repetitive tasks like typing may contribute. Vibrating objects, like lawnmowers, leafblowers, motorcycles, or even a steering wheel can aggravate this.

Will it get worse?
It is very unlikely to go away on its own, and it normally gets worse with time. It can cause nerve damage and become so bad that muscles waste away or complete loss of feeling occurs. Then it might not be correctable.

What is the treatment?
Bracing and therapy are the first line of treatment, along with vitamin B6 50mg a day. Cortisone injections sometimes help. Surgery is commonly needed to release the ligament that pinches the nerve in the wrist.

Do I need surgery?
Many patients do, if the nonoperative treatments don't work. Surgery usually completely corrects the problem. If nerve damage has occurred over time, surgery still helps, but may not completely relieve all problems.

We have a live video of surgery here.

Tell me about the surgery
It is an outpatient surgery, meaning you go home the same day as surgery. It is done with local anesthesia, meaning you don't have to go to sleep. Patients don't feel anything and are very comfortable due to the sedative drugs given. It takes about 5 minutes, and is done through two very short incisions which are invisible after they are healed. After the surgeon incises the skin, the ligament that causes the pinched nerve is divided while Dr. Metzger sees it clearly using a magnified camera (endoscope). Cutting that ligament has no adverse effect on the use of the hand.

Is surgery safe?
Your surgeon will discuss the risks with you, but it is a very safe and effective procedure.

How long would I be out of my job after surgery?
You will be sent home with a bandage on your hand. You should move your finger or thumb the day of surgery, as this helps prevent and reduce swelling and stiffness. The stitches are removed in the office in 1 week. Jobs with clerical or light-type of work can be resumed the day after surgery, heavier duty-type jobs such as manual labor can be done after 2-4 weeks in most cases.