Simply put carpal tunnel is pressure upon the median nerve; which is the nerve that extends through the wrist and into the hand.  This pressure can cause weakness, numbness, and loss of grip in the thumb index middle and ring fingers.

Carpal Tunnel syndrome is a condition found frequently in the general population that is usually associated with repetitive motion.  Certain activities, occupational practices, and positioning such as frequently using a keyboard can trigger the condition.

WHAT IS CARPAL TUNNEL

It is caused from pressure on the median nerve.  There are several tendons and the median nerve that run from your forearm to your hand.   The tendons control movement in your hand and the median nerve controls feeling and movement in your thumb and first three fingers.   For these parts to get to your hand from your forearm they go through the carpal tunnel which is located in your wrist.  It is only about an inch wide and is formed by small bones on the bottom and sides called carpal bones.  The carpal tunnel is covered by a strong band of connective tissue called the transverse carpal ligament.  The carpal tunnel is very rigid and there is little to no room to stretch therefore symptoms appear when the space is restricted due to pressure or swelling.

Symptoms include pain, tingling, weakness or numbness in the fingers or hand.  Symptoms are usually present in the thumb and first three fingers although it is not unusual to have pain in your arms below your elbow.  The little finger is not affected because it controlled by a different nerve.

HOW CARPAL TUNNEL IS DIAGNOSED AND TREATED

In more significant presentations of carpal tunnel, it is usually corroborated by nerve conduction study, electromyography (EMG), or a combination of both tests.   Once the syndrome has been corroborated, surgical management is a reasonable option.

Carpal Tunnel Release surgery can be done one of two ways but in both cases the transverse carpal ligament is cut to remove pressure from the median nerve.

The open approach is an incision in the proximal palm and into the wrist which is about two inches long.

The endoscopic approach uses a smaller incision, about a half an inch, through the proximal wrist crease where a thin tube with a camera guides him to the ligament.  The benefit of endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery besides a shorter recovery is a smaller scar which is less noticeable and potentially less symptomatic from pain in the postoperative period.

Dr. Myers is not exclusive to plastic surgery.  He is also board certified in hand surgery which makes him further qualified to provide care for yourself or your family members.   To find out more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Myers, please contact us today.