Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common problem which interferes with the normal use of the hand. Typical symptoms are pain and a pinching or tingling feeling in the fingers, hand and wrist. The pain may even radiate up to the shoulder. People affected may feel weakness in the hand, drop things, and frequently wake up in the middle of the night with numbness and tingling.

Cross-section of carpal tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by swelling of the flexor tendons within the carpal tunnel, which increases pressure on the median nerve. This nerve supplies sensation to the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. Early diagnosis and treatment is necessary to prevent irreversible nerve damage resulting in persistent symptoms and permanent disability. Initial treatment may include rest, a custom wrist splint, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, vitamins and an injection of cortisone. The working environment can be modified to decrease inflammation and stress. When pain persists, an EMG may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of nerve damage.

wrist splint

If conservative treatment fails to eliminate the problem, carpal tunnel surgery is very successful in alleviating symptoms. At surgery, the ligament which forms the roof of the carpal tunnel is divided. This allows the carpal tunnel to open up, relieving pressure on the nerve. A traditional open carpal tunnel release requires an incision across the palm and wrist. This continues through the underlying fat, fascia and muscle in order to get to the ligament.

At Central Jersey Hand Surgery, we use a new surgical technique - Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release. Two small incisions are made, one in the palm and one at the wrist. An endoscope is inserted allowing the surgeon to view the procedure on a monitor. Small delicate instruments are used to cut only the offending ligament. The palmar skin, underlying cushioning fat, protective fascia and muscle are not cut.

We have successfully performed over 3,500 of these procedures!

Click image for full picture of Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel release procedureEndoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release

This new procedure is performed under local anesthesia and usually takes less than twenty minutes. This is done as same day surgery with only a soft dressing applied to the hand. Compared to traditional carpal tunnel surgery, there is less postoperative pain and scarring allowing a quicker recovery and earlier return to normal activities.

Check out a great article on our minimally invasive surgical techniques:

published on the net in Orthopedic Technology Review

For an appointment, call (732) 542-4477

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revised 6/13/02
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