Carpal tunnel syndrome, also called median nerve compression, is a chronic condition that causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hand. Because the Median Nerve controls the movement and feeling of your fingers, patients often complain of:
- Burning, tingling, or itching numbness in your palm and thumb or your index and middle fingers
- Weakness in your hand and trouble holding things
- Shock-like feelings that move into your fingers
- Tingling that moves up into your arm
You might first notice that your fingers “fall asleep” and become numb at night. In the morning, you may wake up with numbness and tingling in your hands that may run all the way to your shoulder. During the day, your symptoms might flare up while you’re holding something with your wrist bent, like when you’re driving or reading a book.
While Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may be debilitating, thankfully a quick, simple no-stitch procedure has been developed to solve the problem! Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery uses a thin, specialized device with a camera attached (endoscope), guided through a tiny incision at the wrist. The device contains both the camera and the tiny, 2 mm cutting instrument. The endoscope allows Dr. Cole to clearly see the internal structures of the wrist without opening the area with the standard, larger incision.
During endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery, the transverse carpal ligament is cut, releasing pressure on the median nerve and relieving the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. The incision in the palm is typically closed with stitches. However, Dr. Cole has perfected a technique utilizing such a tiny incision (4 mm) that no stitches are required. This truly is no stitch carpal tunnel surgery! You can expect a shorter recovery period after an endoscopic carpal tunnel release than after open surgery because the procedure does not require a larger, painful incision on the palm. This is a huge benefit to those hoping to return to work and life sooner, as well as patients suffering from chronic pain or other medical issues. The pain and numbness may go away right after surgery but typically take several months for maximal recovery.
Dr. Cole performs his no-stitch carpal tunnel release procedures at an outpatient surgery, allowing you to go home the very same day. The incision and dressing are kept safe in a splint for the first week followed by routine handwashing/ bathing practices. Heavy use of your hand is restricted for the first 2 weeks. How soon you return to work depends on your comfort and on your specific work demands. Following at least one week of successful healing, it is critical that you are comfortable and able to perform your duties before attempting to work. Rehabilitative occupational therapy is available but typically is not required. The risks and complication rates are typically very low and occur on average are less than 1% of cases.