Carpal Tunnel Surgery - Is it Really the Answer? By Staff Writer - RR

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the impingement of the median nerve (in the wrist) that supplies function and feeling to the thumb, index, middle and one-half of the ring finger. CTS can be very debilitating, causing loss of work and income, and therefore affecting the entire family. If you are one of the hundreds of thousands suffering from CTS, you have likely been considering your options, such as Carpal Tunnel Surgery, to help relieve the discomfort and enable you to regain normal function again.

If you believe you may have CTS, it is always best to consult your physician. I am writing this article with the assumption that you have already been correctly diagnosed by a practicing physician and informed of your potential options.

Many physicians will suggest surgery as the first and only treatment for CTS. Although I do not personally agree that surgery should be the first or the only option, it is a fact that in some cases, such as if a patient has waited too long to take care of their CTS or if they have tried all other non-invasive forms of treatment, surgery is indeed a viable option.

Computers and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

When doing a search via Internet or when speaking to varied surgeons, you will find that the CTS surgery success rate varies tremendously.  I have seen studies stating that the success rate is as low as 54% and up to as high as 96%. That is a huge variation and can be extremely confusing. However, when reviewing the long-term statistics of carpal tunnel surgery, the numbers are far less erratic. A study performed by the Journal of Hand Surgery, stated that there was a 57% failure rate following patients from 1-day to 6-years and that at least one of the following symptoms re-occurred during this time: pain, numbness and / or tingling sensations. And in another study, the Bureau of Labor & Statistics and National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health stated only 23% of CTS surgery patients were able to continue in their previous professions after CTS surgery.

In the last 10-years, I have read a lot of information and spoken personally to many, many patients suffering from CTS, and I have found it to be very important to first try multiple, non-invasive forms of therapy, before ever jumping into an invasive treatment. I also believe you should closely review the multiple surgery options available, as they are all uniquely different, as are the success rates, recovery times and side effects of each surgery choice.

   

The types of surgery you should be sure to closely examine are: Open Release, Mini Open Release, Endoscopy and Balloon Carpal Tunnel Plasty. And finally, it is of the utmost importance that the proper post-surgery rehabilitation is provided for you. After CTS surgery, your body does NOT heal properly all on its own. You must demand Physical Therapy if it is not provided or suggested by your surgeon. The proper post-surgery carpal tunnel rehabilitation exercises are extremely important to regain as much strength, flexibility and function as possible.

I wish you the very best and hope that no matter how you and your doctor decide to treat your CTS, I hope you are able to quickly and completely recover!

Author: Staff Writer - RR

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