Carpal tunnel release is surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is pain and weakness in the hand that is caused by pressure on the median nerve in the wrist.
Median nerve decompression; Carpal tunnel decompression; Surgery - carpal tunnel
The median nerve and the tendons that flex (or curl) your fingers go through a passage called the carpal tunnel in your wrist. This tunnel is narrow, so any swelling can pinch the nerve and cause pain. A thick ligament (tissue) just under your skin (the carpal ligament) makes up the top of this tunnel. During the operation, the surgeon cuts through the carpal ligament to make more space for the nerve and tendons.
The surgery is done in the following way:
- First, you receive numbing medicine so that you do not feel pain during surgery. You may be awake but you will also receive medicines to make you relax.
- A small surgical cut is made in the palm of your hand near your wrist.
- Next, the ligament that covers the carpal tunnel is cut. This eases the pressure on the median nerve. Sometimes, tissue around the nerve is removed as well.
- The skin and tissue underneath your skin are closed with sutures (stitches).
Sometimes this procedure is done using a tiny camera attached to a monitor. The surgeon inserts the camera into your wrist through a very small surgical cut and views the monitor to see inside your wrist. This is called endoscopic surgery. The instrument used is called an endoscope.