Carpal tunnel release is performed to relieve the pressure on the median nerve which is causing symptoms that can include burning pain and numbness in the hand. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. It is typically performed endoscopically, but an incision may be required in cases of previous carpal tunnel release on the same wrist or in some patients with rheumatoid arthritis. During the surgery, the ligament that compresses the median nerve is cut to release the nerve. The patient is typically allowed to return to work within 2 days unless their job requires manual labor or lifting. Heavy lifting my not be allowed for up to one month after surgery. Post-operative rehabilitation is typically only required if the surgeon feels scar management is necessary after an open (not endoscopic) procedure.
Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Ligament Release
In an effort to preserve the normal hand structure, decrease postoperative pain, scarring, loss of pinch and grip strength and to insure a rapid recovery, Dr. Joon Ahn performs an endoscopic technique as an alternative to open hand surgery; Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release.
During single-portal Endoscopic Surgery, a small incision is made in the crease of the wrist, where the surgeon inserts a small camera mounted to a surgical instrument called a SmartRelease™ ECTR. This device allows the surgeon to see inside the carpal tunnel using a video monitor. The surgeon then precisely cuts the ligament using a retractable blade within the SmartRelease™ ECTR, without opening the entire palm. Once the ligament is fully released, the blade is retracted, the instrument is withdrawn and the small incision is sutured and dressed.
The guiding principle of this minimally invasive procedure is to minimize post-operative pain by avoiding an open incision extending from the wrist across to the palm. Endoscopic Surgery is highly effective and has been used for more than 20 years. There is rarely any bleeding because the two incisions are so small, and only one suture is used to close the wounds. The surgery is performed on an out-patient basis usually using a local anesthesia which further reduces recovery time and expense.