The carpal tunnel is a small passage located just below the palm, near the wrist. It houses the nerves, tendons and ligaments that control the movement of the thumb and the first three fingers. Sometimes, injury or overuse of the hand can lead to the carpal tunnel being compressed or pinched and this results in the carpal tunnel experiencing numbness, tingling or pain.
Carpal Tunnel Specialist San Francisco
Who are the most at risk of getting carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is common in people who engage in jobs or activities that involve extensive use of their hands. Typically, movements like grasping & releasing, tugging, hand flexing and jerky movements all add excessive stress to the hand and the wrist, causing carpal tunnel syndrome. Keeping the hand in an awkward position for long stretches of time can also lead to this condition. People who are genetically predisposed to arthritis and diabetes have a higher chance of being affected by carpal tunnel syndrome.
What happens if we don’t treat carpal tunnel as soon as possible?
Muscles need to be used in order to strengthen and develop. If you don’t use your muscles, chances are they degrade into an unusable state. This is true of all muscles, including the ones in your hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome restricts the range of movement and flexibility of the muscles in the hand and the wrist. When you try to forcefully move your hand, you experience intense pain. Most patients either stop using their hands all together because of this or they lose the ability to move their hands, as the condition worsens. Over time, untreated carpal tunnel syndrome can cause the muscles in your hand and wrist to atrophy and waste away. If this happens, no treatment can restore the functionality of the hand.
PREVENT ATROPHY AND FIND RELIEF
Thankfully, muscle atrophy due to carpal tunnel happens very rarely. Additionally, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome manifest much earlier than atrophy can begin, giving you plenty of time and warning to treat your hand successfully.
Dr. Joshua Gordon, MD and Dr. Leonard Gordon, MD are experts in carpal tunnel treatment. You can depend on them to get your hand back to health.
What if surgery is necessary?
When you visit the Hand and Microsurgery Medical Group in San Francisco, California, Dr. Leonard Gordon, MD and Dr. Joshua Gordon, MD will first try to treat any carpal tunnel syndrome through non-surgical methods. But sometimes, these treatment techniques don’t help and you may need surgery to treat your hand and wrist.
Consultation: The first step
The first step before the surgery is the consultation. Here, the doctors will sit with you to understand your medical and surgical history. The doctors may also conduct a nerve conduction study to understand whether your condition is in reality carpal tunnel syndrome or not. This allows them to give you the right treatment. If however, it is carpal tunnel syndrome, the doctors will start to design your surgical plan.
SURGICAL TECHNIQUES USED
There are two surgical techniques that may be used for this surgery – the minimally-invasive palm incision or the Open Carpal Tunnel Surgery. The doctors will select the surgical procedure based on your medical needs.
During the surgery, the transverse carpal ligament – which lies on top of the carpal tunnel – is cut to relieve the pressure on the carpal tunnel. Cutting this ligament doesn’t impair movement and flexibility of your hand. Over the course of a few weeks, your hands will become stronger and more flexible.
Recovering from carpal tunnel surgery
Recovery takes a few weeks. The stitches will be removed 1-2 weeks after the surgery. Pain and numbness will go away a few hours after the surgery. You can ice the area if there is swelling. You can return to work 14-15 days after the surgery.
You are advised not to lift heavy objects or move your hand too much for at least 3 months after your surgery. The doctors will give you an exercise regimen to follow, once they confirm your hand has healed.
If you’d like more information about our treatments, contact Hand and Microsurgery Medical Group today.