The Carpal Tunnel Surgery Recovery Period
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be a very disturbing, debilitating neurogenic disorder. An individual experiencing this condition may go through different signs and symptoms that may opt him to undergo surgery. What are the things to do during the carpal tunnel surgery recovery period?
If you are a person who had undergone a carpal release hand surgery, this information is intended to help you safely speed up your post-operative recovery from incision pain and hasten the healing. You need to be aware that there are things that you must and mustn’t do during your carpal tunnel surgery recovery period.
If the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome become very disturbing to an individual then an option to do carpal tunnel release surgery is given to the patient. This is also especially when the symptoms do not resolve after trying palliative treatments.
There are two types of hand surgeries for carpal tunnel: The open hand carpal tunnel release surgery and the keyhole or endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery. Both of these hand surgeries involve incision on the palmar areas of the hand. Although the latter produce little scar and quick healing as compared to the former.
In open hand carpal tunnel release surgery an incision is made on the palmar aspect of the hand and wrist. This incision’s length is from one and a half inch to two inches. This allows the surgeon to see the ligament in the wrist called the transverse carpal ligament to be able to sever it. After the procedure the skin is stitched but the cut ligament is not. This will allow scar tissue formation to fill up the gap.
On the other hand, in the keyhole (endoscopic) carpal tunnel release surgery a smaller dissection is used. The endoscope instrument is inserted through this small hole to perform the surgery. The skin above the transverse carpal tunnel ligament is kept intact. Thus, as compared to open hand carpal tunnel release surgery, the endoscopic surgery has a shorter carpal tunnel surgery recovery period.
These two procedures use local anesthesia. These are also done by the doctor as an outpatient surgical procedure.
During carpal tunnel release surgery recovery period:
- You must have someone to help you at home to do the chores for you especially if you have your both hands operated.
- Risk motions must be restricted. If you have your non-dominant hand operated you can rest for 1 to 2 days off from work, the dominant hand operation though may need you to rest your wrist for approximately a week.
- Wrist splint must be worn most of the times. This will help lessen unwanted wrist motions and can speed the healing process of the operative site and therefore shorten the carpal tunnel surgery recovery time.
- Elevation of the limb is very important especially on the first 2 to 3 days after the surgery. This will help decrease the inflammation of the hand post-operatively and avoiding increasing the pressure on the wrist and eliciting the symptoms by compressing the nerve.
- During the carpal tunnel surgery recovery you must keep your incision dry. Avoid contaminating the incision wound by following proper wound care procedures.
- Eat with proper nutrition. You must keep your body healthy in order to cope up with the needs for the tissue healing. You must drink a lot of water, multivitamins and supplements for the bones. These can be prescribed by your primary healthcare provider.
- Exercise and physical therapy. This will also aid during carpal tunnel surgery recovery period for faster healing of the wound. It will also assist you to regain your grip and hand muscle strength.
Things you need avoid during carpal tunnel surgery recovery:
- You must avoid moving your wrist too much or putting pressure on the incision, these will hinder the healing process of the wound. Although not moving your wrist at all may lead to other problems. So proper precautions must be taken when you are moving your wrist after the operation.
- Avoid eating foods high in salt. The salt helps retain body fluids in the body. Decreasing the amount in your diet for a few weeks after the surgery will decrease risk of post-operative edema.
Although carpal tunnel release surgery is favoured by only less than fifty percent of the CTS patients, the tingling and pain sensations are relieved in a few hours of the carpal tunnel surgery recovery period. The full recovery time from this procedure may last form 3 months to 10 months.
Doctors, on the other hand, prefer to offer surgery as a last resort due to its poor outcomes or complications post-operatively. After 2 years of surgery, some patients need to be re-operated due to recurrence of symptoms and other physical and health factors.
Undergoing physical therapy and trying other alternative carpal tunnel syndrome treatments are still highly recommended before undergoing this invasive procedure of the hand. You must be able to have tried palliative treatments of carpal tunnel syndrome and if the symptoms worsen or remain unrelieved then surgical operation will be the last option to consider.