Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that affects the hands, causing pain, numbness, and other uncomfortable symptoms. When carpal tunnel syndrome is severe or chronic, surgical treatment may be the best way to relieve the patient’s symptoms and help them regain normal function. Dr. Edward Diao is a trained, experienced carpal tunnel surgeon serving patients in Union Square, San Francisco, California. He has used endoscopic techniques to treat carpal tunnel for decades and he has published and presented his findings at major peer reviewed medical journals as well as trained hundreds of surgeons in those advanced techniques. He has also used these advanced techniques for cubital tunnel syndrome and ulnar nerve compression at the elbow. To make an appointment with Dr. Diao, please call today or book an appointment online.
Carpal Tunnel Q & A
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway located in your wrist on the palm side. When a nerve in this tunnel becomes compressed, you’ll experience the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
The most common symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome is tingling and numbness in the hand and fingers. This symptom usually appears in the thumb and index fingers or in the middle and ring fingers. You may also notice that the affected hand is weaker and that you’re more likely to drop things.
Why does carpal tunnel develop?
Most cases of carpal tunnel syndrome happen because the median nerve is compressed. This nerve runs from the forearm and into the hand, passing directly through the carpal tunnel. Compression of this nerve may occur because of a wrist fracture or arthritis. If you flex your wrist repetitively at work or when participating in a hobby, you may be at a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
What happens during carpal tunnel surgery?
If your carpal tunnel syndrome is severe, Dr. Diao may recommend surgery. Two different procedures are available: endoscopic surgery and open surgery.
During endoscopic surgery, Dr. Diao uses a small device attached to a camera to look inside your carpal tunnel and relieve pressure on your median nerve. This procedure requires one or two small incisions in your wrist or hand.
During open surgery, Dr. Diao will make an incision over the palm of your hand. Next, he’ll relieve the pressure on your median nerve by cutting through the ligament.
Each of these procedures offers different advantages and disadvantages. Dr. Diao will review your case carefully and help you decide which approach is best.
Is carpal tunnel surgery always necessary?
Carpal tunnel surgery isn’t necessary for every patient with this condition. If your symptoms aren’t severe, you may be able to recover with a combination of wrist splinting and medications. Avoiding activities that worsen the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndromes may also aid in the healing process.
However, if your condition is severe and conservative treatments don’t help, surgery may be your best option.