Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery | MedStar Health

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes pinched in a tight tunnel in your wrist. When the nerve is pinched, you will feel numbness and tingling in your fingers. You may also experience pain. Our team of experienced hand and wrist physicians will provide you with advanced treatment techniques for carpal tunnel syndrome, including both nonoperative and surgical options. We value being able to provide personalized feedback based on your unique situation, so we take time to speak with you about your specific symptoms and medical history. Once we have determined an accurate diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, we work with you to develop a treatment plan that will best fit your needs. Our primary goal is to get you back to your regular activities and to restore your hand and wrist function.

What is carpal tunnel release?

Carpal tunnel release surgery is a procedure to reduce pressure on your medial nerve, found in the wrist. When repetitive movements cause pain and pressure around this nerve, it is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. To ease the pressure and pain, your surgeon will open the roof of the carpal tunnel, relieving pressure and providing carpal tunnel pain relief.

What does carpal tunnel treatment involve?

For milder symptoms, treatment usually involves wearing a splint at night to keep the wrist in a neutral position, thereby preventing night awakening from numbness and tingling. As symptoms progress, your surgeon may offer you either injections or surgical treatment. Surgery is the definitive treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. It is a minor procedure with a relatively easy recovery that leads to a huge improvement in quality of life and function by eliminating tingling and pain. The surgery is an outpatient procedure, and it can be done with wide-awake-hand-surgery or with light sedation.

What does surgery recovery involve?

Carpal tunnel surgery is a minor procedure, and the recovery is usually very easy on patients. Your surgeon will go over details with you, but in general, light activity is usually permitted very quickly after carpal tunnel surgery (such as typing and writing). Your physician will work closely with you and your family to determine the best recovery plan for your individual needs, which may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Pain medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medication

What are the benefits of undergoing treatment?

The benefits of carpal tunnel release surgery include:

  • Hand and wrist pain relief
  • Ability to perform regular wrist movements
  • Improved dexterity
  • Pressure relief
  • Nerve preservation (prevention of further nerve damage from untreated nerve compression)

Why is carpal tunnel release performed?

Carpal tunnel release surgery is performed to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a painful condition that causes weakness and discomfort in the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by increased pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. At MedStar Health, we may recommend carpal tunnel release surgery if you suffer from any of the following symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and have not had success with non-surgical options:

  • Numbness in the fingers
  • Pain in the wrist or hand
  • Tingling in the wrist or hand
  • Feeling of clumsiness when using the hand