Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition in which the median nerve is compressed as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel and causes pain, numbness and tingling, in the part of the hand that receives sensation from the median nerve. Pain may extend up the arm leading to discomfort extending to the shoulder and forearm.
Carpal tunnel release is the preferred surgery used to correct carpal tunnel syndrome. An incision is made at the base of the palm of the hand. This allows the doctor to see the transverse carpal ligament. After the ligament is cut, the skin is closed with stitches. The gap where the ligament was cut is left alone and eventually fills up with scar tissue. If you have open carpal tunnel release surgery, you typically do not need to stay in the hospital. It is usually done under local anesthetic, and you can go home on the same day.
After surgery, the hand is wrapped. The stitches are removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. The pain and numbness may go away right after surgery or may take several months to subside. Try to avoid heavy use of your hand for up to 3 months. When you return to work depends on whether the dominant hand (the hand you use most) was involved, what your work activities are, and how much effort you put into rehabilitative physical therapy.