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Carpal Tunnel Repair

Alternate Names

  • CTR
  • carpal tunnel release

Definition

Carpal tunnel repair (now called "carpal tunnel release" ) is a surgical procedure that helps to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

Carpal tunnel release is needed when other treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome - rest, splinting, and physical therapy - have failed to relieve the symptoms. If a person has symptoms for more than 4 months, surgery is often considered.

How is the procedure performed?

Carpal tunnel release is usually done in a same-day surgery setting. A local anesthetic is used to numb an area on the palm of the hand. A 2-inch incision is made to release the tight band (carpal tunnel ligament) that is putting pressure on the the median nerve.
An endoscopic release is a less-invasive form of surgery. This procedure uses an endoscope, a small fiber-optic camera. The surgeon uses it to look into the carpal tunnel through a small incision in the wrist. A small tube, or cannula, is placed alongside the median nerve. Through this cannula, a special knife is inserted to free the carpal tunnel ligament from the median nerve.

Sources

Professional Guide to Diseases, Sixth Edition. Springhouse: Springhouse Corporation, 1998.

Griffith, H. Winter. Instructions for Patients. Philadelphia:W.B. Saunders Company,1994.

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