HAND SURGERY / TRAUMA
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition characterised by compression of the median nerve in the wrist as it passes through the carpal tunnel, leading to symptoms in the hand. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, and/or pain in the hand and fingers.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often associated with repetitive movements of the hand and wrist.
The first step in treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is conservative and involves splinting during daily activities and reduction in strenuous activity to reduce swelling. This is combined with anti-inflammatory medications prescribed by Dr Sofianos.
The next step is corticosteroid injection in the carpal tunnel area but unfortunately the relief obtained is temporary with a return of symptoms in a few weeks to months.
Individuals who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms that persist even after a trial of non-surgical therapy, including splinting, steroids and analgesia, may benefit from carpal tunnel release by surgery.
Surgical release is performed under local anaesthetic, and if necessary, sedation. Dr Sofianos will divide the transverse carpal ligament, which is the roof of the carpal tunnel. This relieves pressure on the median nerve and consequently the symptoms.
After the procedure, most individuals report fewer or no symptoms of pain and numbness in their hand. Sometimes, there is a temporary loss of strength when pinching or gripping due to the interruption of the transverse carpal ligament, but with time, this strength should return.
Most individuals require a week off work, and strenuous activity should be limited for 4 weeks. Postoperatively, Dr Sofianos will involve specialise hand therapists to ensure a rapid return to daily function.