If you have:
- tingling and numbness in your thumb, index and middle finger,
- tingling in all fingers,
- tingling in only the thumb or middle finger,
- aching and pain in your hand,
- aching in your forearm that can radiate to your shoulder or back, and/or
- clumsiness or a weak grip,
you might have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
What is the Carpal Tunnel?
The carpal tunnel is a tunnel inside your hand, formed by a semi-circle of bones on three sides. The fourth side is a ligament that is unable to stretch. The median nerve, nine tendons, a spongy tissue called tenosynovium and a bit of extra room are all located inside this tunnel.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Since the carpal tunnel is unable to stretch, pressure is placed on the median nerve when the tenosynovium begins to swell for any number of reasons. Due to the pressure, you begin to feel the symptoms mentioned above
How is Carpal Tunnel treated?
-CTS can be treated in a variety of ways. Initially, the wrist is splinted to keep the wrist and forearm in a straight line. Vitamin B6 taken in a dose of 100 mg once a day is felt to act as a mild diuretic (water pill) and may help reduce the symptoms of CTS. An injection of cortisone provides short-term relief of the pain and numbness associated with CTS in 80% of patients. If the symptoms persist surgery may be necessary.
Carpal tunnel release is a procedure where the transverse carpal ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel is cut to relieve the pressure on the median nerve. It is important to recognize that carpal tunnel surgery is not a trivial operation. Whether it is done by an open, limited-open or endoscopic technique there is the risk that tendons, nerves or vessels will be injured. Dr. Bhatnagar has been using the “Safeguard” system for carpal tunnel release (KMI Inc., San Diego) in selected patients. The KMI Safeguard system is designed to help perform limited-open carpal tunnel release. The “Safeguard” system is a device consisting of a knife and a guide. A guide is placed between the transverse carpal ligament and the median nerve. The knife is passed along a groove in the guide as it safely cuts the ligament. This system allows the doctor to be precise and to avoid injury to nerves, vessels, or tendons. This procedure is performed as an outpatient surgery. Recovery time varies according to how much you have to do with your hands, however light use is encouraged immediately after surgery.