10 Pros and Cons of Carpal Tunnel Surgery

10 Pros and Cons of Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a physiological condition that is caused by the compression of the median nerve. The compression occurs in the carpal tunnel through to the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized by pain and numbness. The numbness is typically felt in the thumb, index and middle finger but the whole forearm may also have tingling sensations. Depending on the severity of carpal tunnel syndrome, one may not be able to do much work with the affected hand.

Lifting weights may be difficult. Normal tasks such as cooking, typing or writing, washing and attending to daily chores can also become quite a challenge. Some severe cases of the condition can cause immense pain to render the hand unusable but it is very rare for carpal tunnel syndrome to get this worse.

Causes Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by many factors. The median nerve can be compressed due to injury. Internal scarring or tissue inflammation, anomaly of the wrist bones and a narrow carpal tunnel may also be the main cause. The condition can be worsened or even facilitated by other ailments such as diabetes, obesity and arthritis. It is essential to differentiate these conditions as carpal tunnel surgery cannot cure any other condition than a pinched or compressed median nerve.

Remedies For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There are many remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome. From physiotherapy including typical and special massages to carpal tunnel surgery, you may consider all the options before deciding what you may want to choose. Every remedy has its advantages and disadvantages. You should consider the pros and cons of carpal tunnel surgery along with the positive and negative aspects of other forms of treatment.

There are many doctors who would always recommend surgery but it is not the only choice. At the same time, physiotherapy or any noninvasive technique is not a surefire cure for carpal tunnel syndrome. It all depends on the severity of the condition and the manner in which the treatment is carried out. Carpal tunnel surgery has a more successful track record of curing the condition but that too often fails.Here are the pros and cons of carpal tunnel surgery that would allow you to make an informed decision.

Pros Of Carpal Tunnel Surgery

1. High Level of Success
The biggest advantage of carpal tunnel surgery is that it has the highest ratio of success. If you want a long term cure then you should opt for carpal tunnel surgery as physiotherapy or other noninvasive methods increase the chances of a recurrence.

2. Choose the Right Procedure for You
There are two types of carpal tunnel surgery you can choose from. One is the open release surgery and the other is endoscopic surgery. Open release surgery involves making only one incision in the wrist and the carpal ligament is cut so it can enlarge the carpal tunnel. This allows the median nerve to relax. Endoscopic surgery involves making two incisions, one in the wrist and one in the palm. The cutting of the carpal ligament is then supervised using a camera. Endoscopic surgery has a quicker recovery period than open release surgery. Also, the former treatment causes less tenderness and scarring than open release surgery.

3. Non Invasive
Carpal tunnel surgery is a very quick process. Noninvasive treatments may take months. Carpal tunnel surgery will not even require an overnight stay at a hospital. You would be operated under local anesthesia and you can get back home after the process is over.

4. Quick Recovery
The recovery period of carpal tunnel surgery varies but it is at least a month. This is quite an advantage in comparison with other treatments that have a very long recuperating period and you may have to continue physiotherapy or massage treatments for years.

5. Painless
Carpal tunnel surgery is a relatively painless experience. The pain that you would experience after the surgery can be easily managed with some prescription drugs or over the counter medication, although it is recommended to go for prescribed pain relief medication.

Carpal tunnel surgery is more surefire than all other forms of treatment and you can expect to live a normal life after a successful procedure. The level of assurance is not applicable in other forms of treatment.

Cons Of Carpal Tunnel Surgery

1. Surgical Risk
There are several downsides of carpal tunnel surgery or potential problems that can become a concern. This is not unique for open release or endoscopic surgery as every type of surgery has certain challenges. The first major challenge is the slight chance that the surgery may not be a success. You would have spent money and time for a procedure that would end up in futility.

Although the success ratio or percentage is encouraging, there are cases of failed carpal tunnel surgery. Also, there is always that negligible risk of a surgery going horribly wrong that can cause death. It is extremely rare and there have been no reported cases of death due to failed carpal tunnel surgery but it is possible. People under anesthesia can often succumb during the process.

2. Infection or Inflammation
The general risks of anesthesia and due to any kind of incision made in the body are also relevant in case of carpal tunnel surgery. It is possible that the incision will cause an infection. The nerves or tendons, tissues and even the carpal tunnel can get damaged during the surgery. Damage to nerves can be particularly painful and extremely serious. Cellular damage is uncommon but possible.

Tissue inflammation is very common. If patients are not prepped properly and diagnosed well before the procedure then there can be numerous fall outs, including heavy bleeding. People with diabetes or arthritis, tissue inflammation or any serious medical condition that can interfere with the surgery or make a personal ineligible for invasive treatments or incisions should not opt for carpal tunnel surgery.

3. Nerve Damage
Although rare, nerve damage caused by carpal tunnel surgery can cause partial or complete paralysis of the hand. Damaged tendons can make the hand weak and one may not ever regain the kind of strength that one had prior to the surgery.

4. Extended Recovery
The recovery period of carpal tunnel surgery is not always a fortnight or a month. In most cases it takes two months and in many cases it can be as long as six months. During this period, there would be immense pain and it may be impossible to lift heavy objects or even do some normal tasks. In any case, overworking the hand or lifting anything that weighs more than ten or eleven pounds are not acceptable. Owing to professional commitments or practical compulsions, carpal tunnel surgery may not be an ideal option for those who cannot afford the recovery period. Not adhering to the guidelines or the recommendations of the doctor will be unwise and the whole surgery can be a failure.

5. Damage Blood Vessels
Carpal tunnel surgery can damage blood vessels and can also cause scar tissues. Over time, scar tissues can build up and cause more pain. Such an aftereffect will demand another surgery. Surgeries often fail due to unexplained reason. Everything may seem to be fine but there could be an untoward side effect. One may not even get to know the real reason why the surgery didn’t work or why another surgery may be needed.