Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a condition that affects the wrist and hand. It is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which runs through a narrow passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. The symptoms of CTS can include pain in the arm, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the wrist, fingers, arm, and hand. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which runs through a narrow passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is made up of bones and connective tissue, and it contains not only the median nerve but also tendons that control the movement of the fingers. When the tissues in the carpal tunnel become inflamed or swollen, they can put pressure on the median nerve, leading to the symptoms of CTS.

What causes it?

The exact cause of CTS is unknown. Pressure on the nerve can occur in several ways:

Repetitive Motions – Repetitive motions with the hands, such as typing or using a computer mouse, can increase the risk of developing CTS.

Trauma - An injury to the wrist, such as a fracture or sprain, can lead to swelling and inflammation in the carpal tunnel, putting pressure on the median nerve.

Medical Conditions - Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disorders, can increase the risk of developing CTS.

Swelling – Any swelling of the lining of the flexor tendons (tenosynovitis, joint dislocations, fractures, and arthritis can narrow the tunnel)

Pregnancy - Fluid retention during pregnancy can cause swelling in the tunnel and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, which often go away after delivery.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome tend to vary between patients. These largely depend on the severity of the condition. However, most patients experience some common characteristics of the condition. These include:

Sensations – It is common to experience unusual sensations such as numbness or tingling in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and part of the ring finger. Patients also complain of prickling feeling and heat or cold in these areas.

No Strength – Patients complain of weakness in the hand, making it difficult to grip objects or perform fine motor tasks

Pain or Discomfort – Patients may feel mild, moderate or even intense pain in the hand, wrist, or forearm. In some rare cases, the pain may even radiate towards upper arm and shoulder.

How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?

Speak to your doctor about any symptoms of Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) you may be experiencing. The doctor will ask you about any recent injuries related to neck, arm and wrist. This will be followed by:

Physical Examination - The doctor will examine the hand, wrist, and arm to look for signs of CTS, such as weakness, numbness, and tingling.

Nerve Conduction Studies - These tests measure the speed and strength of electrical signals in the nerves of the hand and wrist.

Electromyography (EMG) - This test measures the electrical activity of muscles in the hand and wrist.

Ultrasound – It will provide images of the structures in the wrist and hand.

X-rays – The test will rule out any other injury to the wrist or hand that may be causing symptoms

Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery is a procedure used for the treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). An outpatient procedure (patient can return home the same day), it is typically recommended for patients who have moderate to severe symptoms of CTS that have not responded to conservative treatments such as rest, wrist splinting, and medications.

During the surgery, the surgeon will make a small incision in the wrist and then cut the ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel. This relieves pressure on the median nerve, which can alleviate the symptoms of CTS.

The present age Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery is performed laparoscopically. It is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that the patient can go home the same day as the procedure. There is no need for extended incision into arm of patient for releasing the nerve. This surgery takes less time to heal. Patients recover faster and can expect to return to normal activities soon.

Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery can be effective in relieving the symptoms of CTS and even a permanent cure for most patients. However, it is not always necessary or appropriate for every patient. The decision to undergo surgery should be made in consultation with a qualified healthcare provider.

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