A Tunnel Other Than the Windsor Tunnel

Although in these parts the most famous tunnel would surely be the Windsor Tunnel under the Detroit River, if you have aching wrists you’re likely more interested in a far smaller tunnel — the carpal tunnel.

Our experienced Elite Plastic Surgery surgeons perform carpal tunnel release surgery to get rid of the pain.

What is the carpal tunnel?

The carpal tunnel is a narrow, fibrous passage in the wrist that protects the median nerve. This is the nerve responsible for movement and sensation in the hand and thumb, index and middle fingers. The canal can become congested, leading to tingling and numbness in the fingers — carpal tunnel syndrome. Our Elite Plastic Surgery team can open up this congestion and head off possible loss of strength and dexterity in the fingers.

What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?

When patients come to see us at Elite complaining of wrist pain, they can be perplexed that a normal passageway for the median nerve can somehow become restricted. But it doesn’t take any extensive injury — anything that decreases the amount of space in the carpal tunnel, increases the amount of tissue in the tunnel, or increases the sensitivity of the median nerve can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Basically, the decreasing space starts to put the squeeze on the median nerve. This is a case of nerve impingement or compression. This compression and can lead to numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the affected fingers and thumb of the hand.

Symptoms

Most people who develop carpal tunnel syndrome have repetitive jobs or hobbies that involve the hands. The repeating movements of knitting or typing on a keyboard are both prime examples. The repetition is usually a motion that the person doesn’t even realize they do exactly the same way over and over again. It affects women more often than men. The condition usually begins as an ache in the wrist that may extend down to the forearm or up to the hand. As carpal tunnel syndrome worsens, the patient may experience tingling or numbness in the fingers or pain radiating through the entire arm. The tingling is a sign of issues with the nerve, and this can lead to weakness in the hand in question along with difficulty grasping small objects.

Carpal tunnel release

This procedure is called carpal tunnel release. It is an outpatient procedure that can be performed two ways: endoscopically or through an open procedure. Which method we opt to perform depends on the individual situation of each patient.

Open carpal tunnel release involves a two-inch incision in the middle of the palm. This provides the surgeon a better view of the treated area and involves less risk of accidentally damaging nerves in the area.

Endoscopic carpal tunnel release involves only two tiny incisions and makes for less post-operative pain and a faster return to work. There may be a slightly higher chance of needing another surgery down the road.

If you’ve noticed that you’re beginning to have tingling in your fingers and pain in your wrist, you could be developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Call us at Elite Plastic Surgery, (616) 459-1907, and let’s check it out.

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