Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How long will it take to recover from surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome?"
It looks like the only way to cure my carpal tunnel syndrome is if I have surgery. How long will it take me to recover if I do have surgery? Are there really no other options if my doctor says surgery is all that will help?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful progressive condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand and controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers, becomes compressed by a key nerve in the wrist to cause irritations and other swelling. Your carpal tunnel houses the median nerve and tendons. The result may be pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm. One of the most common surgical procedures is that to correct carpal tunnel syndrome. It is generally recommended if its symptoms last for 6 months. The surgery involves severing the band of tissue around the wrist to reduce pressure on the median nerve. The procedure is generally done on an outpatient basis and thus does not require an overnight hospital stay. After surgery patients generally resume some normal activities in a short period of time. Although symptoms may be relieved immediately after surgery, full recovery from carpal tunnel surgery can take months. Some of the risks are infection, nerve damage, stiffness, and pain at the scar. Some patients may occasionally lose wrist strength because the carpal ligament is cut so physical therapy is recommended to restore wrist strength. Other options include various drugs in special circumstances that can ease the pain and swelling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Stretching and strengthening exercises that may be supervised by a physical therapist or an occupational therapist can be helpful. Some patients feel chiropractic care have benefited but their effectiveness remains unproved. I recommend that you have a consultation with a primary care physician who can evaluate the severity of your carpal tunnel syndrome to recommend an appropriate treatment.
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