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Carpal Tunnel Release

The carpal tunnel is a rigid area of your hand that is surrounded on three sides by bone and by the transverse carpal ligament on the fourth. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the swelling of the contents of that tunnel, which includes the median nerve that goes to your hand.

By cutting the ligament and allowing it to release like a pair of swinging doors, easing the pressure on the median nerve, the space in the tunnel can increase by about 30 percent.

When the ligament is cut, it is still present. It heals with a scar in a lengthened state, like letting a belt out a few notches, so that it can still do its job. Your hand will be able to function properly right after surgery, but you will be asked to limit your activities for 3-4 weeks to allow the healing process to begin.

There are two methods of carpal tunnel surgery: open release and endoscopic release. Your preference, and your particular situation, will dictate which procedure is appropriate for you.

This surgery cannot relieve symptoms of other hand problems, such as arthritis, but most patients who catch their carpal tunnel syndrome early—before it has a chance to damage the median nerve—find that surgery is very successful in relieving their pain.

Carpal tunnel procedures

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