What Is Carpal Tunnel Decompression?
Carpal tunnel decompression is a minor surgical procedure performed by neurosurgeons to cure pain from carpal tunnel syndrome, a severe condition that affects the hands due to compression of the median nerve located in the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is fairly common among those who play musical instruments or use the computer on a regular basis. Performed under local or general anesthesia, carpal tunnel decompression is best followed with regular physiotherapy and changed working habits. The approximately 20-minute operation involves making a small incision in the palm and dividing the tissue which has constricted the nerve.
Carpal Tunnel Decompression and Health Care of the Hand
Nerves follow a deep, narrow tunnel called the carpal tunnel, which goes through the wrist down to the finger tips. The median nerve might become compressed in this narrow tunnel causing pain. Pain usually begins in sleep and the patient is often tricked into believing that faulty sleeping posture is the culprit. When pain persists over time, it is diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome. Patients suffering mild pain can always go in for a steroid injection or a wrist splint.
Surgical Procedure and Post Surgery Health Care
A cut is made on the palm next to the crease. The roof of the tunnel is cut to give more room for the nerve. This cut is stitched up and the patient is ready to go home in a few hours time. Post surgical health care involves taking a few pain killers to alleviate any discomfort and wearing a splint to minimize scar formation in the early stages of healing. The normally pain-free surgical wound is swathed in thick bandages, with sutures removed about 12 days after. The hand around the wound can be washed with plain soap and water. Persistent pain needs a doctor’s attention. It’s important for the patient to reassess his or her working habits, furniture, and general lifestyle. Buying an ergonomic keyboard and chair can often do wonders for recovery.
Risks Associated with Carpal Tunnel Decompression
In carpal tunnel decompression, the patient runs a low risk of developing complications such as infection. Another very remote complication is damage to the nerve, which might result in permanent weakness, numbness, or both. “Bowstringing” of tendons could also be a complication, and this might require hand therapy or another surgery.