Non-surgical treatments may include behavioral changes such as reducing or eliminating repetitive hand motion, wearing wrist splints at night or receiving anti-inflammatory medication taken orally or injected into the carpal tunnel.
Surgical treatments vary, but the two most common are Open Surgery and Endoscopic Surgery. Both procedures share the goal of easing pressure on the median nerve by surgically cutting the transverse ligament and thereby enlarging the carpal tunnel to make more room for the nerve. Both procedures are effective, but Endoscopic Surgery results in faster recovery time, less post-operative pain and a smaller, less-noticeable scar.
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 Once the ligament is fully released, the blade is retracted, the instrument is withdrawn and the small incision is sutured and dressed.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.
Closed Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
The carpal ligament is stretched across the wrist, much like a watchband that is too tight. Surgically this ligament is divided to relieve pressure in the underlying nerve.