Home Uncategorized What happens as the carpal tunnel syndrome progresses?  

What happens as the carpal tunnel syndrome progresses?  

by Paresh Bramhane
What happens as the carpal tunnel syndrome progresses?  

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by excessive pressure on the median nerve and affects the movement and strength of the hand. If the condition is not treated, it progresses with time and can cause symptoms like loss of coordination in the fingers and thumb and weakness of the hand. Such weakness and lack of coordination between the fingers can make everyday tasks like writing, typing, or even buttoning a shirt very difficult. 

What symptoms indicate the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome?

When left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome progresses, and the pressure on the median nerve keeps on increasing. In the progressive stages of the condition, symptoms like shooting pain in the forearm, cramping, burning sensation, loss of strength, and numbness become prevalent.  As the condition persists, severe weakness and cramping of the hand and forearm can be experienced, often triggered by hand movements. Loss of strength leads to decreased grip and inability to hold stuff and can be accompanied by the frequent dropping of things from hand. Chronic carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause atrophy, or wasting of the hand muscles, especially the muscles near the base of the thumb. 

Why is it important to get treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a temporary condition if it is treated in time before the symptoms progress. But when left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome worsens and can lead to weakness of the muscles, lack of coordination in the fingers, and permanent nerve damage. Several people ignore the initial symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and take action only when they start experiencing symptoms like immobility and numbness in their hands. Allowing the condition to persist and deteriorate like this can cause irreversible damage. In most cases, carpal tunnel syndrome treatment becomes necessary as the individual may become unable to perform daily activities without pain.

If you suspect that you have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome or if you are experiencing carpal tunnel pain, see a doctor immediately and know about your treatment options. Depending on the severity of the condition, you can be suggested nonsurgical or surgical treatment options. Carpal tunnel release surgery is one the most successful treatments alternate for effectively curing the condition by releasing the pressure on the median nerve, thereby eliminating the symptoms. 

What are some treatment alternatives for carpal tunnel syndrome?

Your doctor can suggest conservative or surgical methods for your carpal tunnel syndrome’s treatment, depending upon the extent and severity of the condition. If the pain in your wrist is being caused by an underlying condition like rheumatoid arthritis or hypothyroidism, treatment of the underlying cause can help eliminate or reduce the symptoms.

But if the pain and symptoms are not because of an underlying condition, the following non-surgical or conservative treatment alternates may be suggested.

  • Medication for pain like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or acetaminophen. 
  • Wearing a splint on the affected wrist to keep the wrist straight and reduce pressure on the median nerve. 
  • Cortisone injections at regular intervals in the carpal tunnel to alleviate the symptoms. 

If nonsurgical methods of treatment are unable to provide relief and prove to be ineffective, surgical methods of treatment are considered. Carpal tunnel release surgery has an exceptionally high rate of success. The surgery may be an open procedure or an endoscopic procedure, and it releases the pressure on the median nerve to alleviate the symptoms. 

Minimally invasive surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome

Up until a few years ago, carpal tunnel release surgery involved a 3-5 centimeter long incision on the wrist and an adequate amount of general or local anesthesia because of the wide dissection and the long incision. The wound of the surgery could cause further complications like infections and also left very painful scars.  

Minimally invasive, carpal tunnel release surgery aimed to reduce complications and had superior results over traditional open surgeries. Minimally invasive surgeries are done with the keyhole technique and require much smaller incisions, cause significantly less pain and blood loss, and offer quicker recovery.  Minimally invasive carpal tunnel release surgery is done with the help of an endoscope that has a high-powered lens. The endoscope is inserted in the carpal tunnel through a small incision, and it presents a clear image of the carpal tunnel on the computer screen. Guided by this representation, the surgeons cut the carpal tunnel ligament to release pressure on the median nerve. 

How is carpal tunnel release surgery performed?

The minimally invasive carpal tunnel release surgery reduces the pressure on the median nerve and provides it a breathing room of sorts. Until a few years ago, carpal tunnel release surgery was an open procedure, which involved large incisions, stitches, and a long recovery period. But today, owing to the advanced techniques in medical science, carpal tunnel release surgery is performed with minimally invasive techniques using an endoscope. An endoscope consists of a high-powered camera lens. The endoscope is inserted in the wrist through a small incision and provides a clear image of the entire carpal tunnel to the surgeons.  With the help of the image, the carpal tunnel ligament is cut to relieve the median nerve of the excessive pressure. Afterward, the tools are removed and the incision is stitched up. 

How to know if you are a suitable candidate for carpal tunnel release surgery?

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be effectively treated with non-surgical methods and does not necessarily require surgery. In most cases, changes in habits and lifestyle can alleviate the symptoms. But if the condition persists for a long time, nonsurgical methods may become futile. Progression of carpal tunnel syndrome leads to weakness of the wrist, loss of grip, and chronic pain. In such cases, surgery is the best option. Minimally invasive carpal tunnel release surgery can help regain the strength of the wrist and eliminate all the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Why choose minimally invasive carpal tunnel release surgery?

Minimally invasive carpal tunnel release surgery has several advantages and perks that make it one of the best treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of its advantages are listed as follows. 

  • Smaller incisions

  • Lesser blood loss
  • Significantly lesser pain than an open surgery

  • Minimal scarring
  • Quick recovery

There is significant ease in symptoms after the surgery. There might be pain around the surgery site for a few months, but it decreases with time. However, if you experience unusual discomfort or pain, swelling or redness, see your doctor immediately.

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