Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome manifests itself through tingles in the thumb, point finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger, pains that are especially strong during the night, a feeling of clumsiness and a gradual muscle loss in the base area of the thumb.
Carpal tunnel syndrome develops because of the pressure on the median nerve inside the bone-ligament tunnel of the hand. If not treated, it can lead to irremediable damage of the nerve which causes permanent loss of sensation and muscle of the thumb.
The diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome is confirmed with testing the speed conduction of the nerve (EMG).

TREATMENT

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated in a few ways, including change of activity, immobilization, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections and surgical treatment. Surgical treatment is advised when the problems are long-term, if other treatments don’t lead to improvement and if a loss of sensation and muscle mass of the thumb is noticed.

SURGICAL TREATMENT AND RECOVERY

In our clinic this procedure is being performed by an experienced surgical team. The operation is usually carried through under local anesthetics and is painless for the patient. During the operation we cut through the ligament that makes the roof of the tunnel in which the nerve goes through. With that we release the pressure on the nerve and allow for it to recover. The surgery usually lasts 30 to 45 minutes, and the patient is discharged to home care in Zagreb after a short stay in the clinic.

RECOVERY

The final result of the operation depends on the course of the operation, the experience of the surgeon and his team, but to a significant extent, it also depends on conscientious and detailed postoperative monitoring and control.
To be sure of the success of the operation and wellbeing of the patient, we insist on regular check ups and everyday contact with the patient. We monitor our patient’s recovery completely, which is crucial for our patient’s health and the result of the operation.
After the surgery the patient’s hand is bandaged with light bandages which enable finger movement and light use of the hand. The stitches are removed after 2 weeks. The night pains usually disappear in a few days, but the tingling sensation in the fingers stay for a while after the operation, depending on the level of the pressure on the nerve and how long before the operation the symptoms occurred.
The patient can drive and do lighter work 2 weeks after the surgery, but a lot of patients notice weakness of the hand and a slight discomfort up to 12 weeks after the surgery. It is advised to avoid heavy physical activity in that period.
The scar on the hand is usually somewhat thicker and more sensitive 6 to 8 weeks after the surgery. This period can be shortened by massaging the scar with a hydrating cream.

PROGNOSIS

Patients who didn’t permanently lose sensation and their thumb muscles haven’t completely weakened before the operation have a better prognosis. Patients who have a higher level of nerve damage and permanent loss of sensation and muscle of the thumb will probably never regain its full function. The recovery can be very slow (6 to 12 months) and, as the nerve grows back, the sensation in the fingers can be uncomfortable for a while.

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Carpal tunnel syndrome