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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

The treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) by a hand surgeon of the Eisenhower Clinic can involve both non-surgical and surgical interventions, depending on the severity of the condition and the individual patient’s needs. Here is an overview of the treatment options commonly employed by hand surgeons for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

  1. Non-Surgical Treatments:
    • Hand surgeons often start with non-surgical treatments to alleviate symptoms and provide relief for mild to moderate cases of CTS.
    • Wrist Splinting: A hand surgeon may recommend wearing a wrist splint, typically during sleep or periods of rest, to keep the wrist in a neutral position and alleviate pressure on the median nerve.
    • Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or oral corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
    • Activity Modification: Modifying certain activities or using ergonomic techniques to minimize stress on the wrists can help reduce symptoms.
  2. Corticosteroid Injections:
    • Hand surgeons may administer corticosteroid injections into the carpal tunnel to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms.
    • The corticosteroid medication is typically combined with a local anesthetic and injected directly into the carpal tunnel area, targeting the inflamed tissues around the median nerve.
  3. Surgical Intervention (Carpal Tunnel Release):
    • In cases where non-surgical treatments do not provide sufficient relief or if the CTS symptoms are severe, a hand surgeon may recommend carpal tunnel release surgery.
    • There are two primary techniques for carpal tunnel release: open release and endoscopic release.
      • Open Release: The hand surgeon makes an incision in the palm of the hand to access the transverse carpal ligament and carefully cuts it to enlarge the carpal tunnel, relieving pressure on the median nerve.
      • Endoscopic Release: The hand surgeon uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera (endoscope) to visualize the inside of the carpal tunnel. Small incisions are made, and the transverse carpal ligament is divided using specialized instruments.
    • The goal of carpal tunnel release surgery is to create more space within the carpal tunnel, relieving pressure on the median nerve and reducing symptoms.
    • The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis, and recovery time varies depending on the individual and the surgical technique used.

Following either non-surgical or surgical treatment, the hand surgeons of the Eisenhower may recommend a period of hand therapy or rehabilitation to help improve strength, flexibility, and function of the hand and wrist. Rehabilitation may include exercises, range of motion activities, and ergonomic education to prevent recurrence.

It’s important for individuals with CTS to consult our hand surgeon to receive a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. The hand surgeon will consider factors such as the severity of symptoms, duration of symptoms, presence of any underlying conditions, and the individual’s functional requirements in determining the most suitable treatment approach.