Carpal tunnel syndrome is also known as median neuropathy and is the term used to describe symptoms of numbness, pain or weakness in the wrist, hand, or fingers. These symptoms are due to compression of the median nerve. The median nerve is a relatively large nerve that travels from your spinal cord, down your arm, across your wrist, and into your hand. Once in the hand, the nerve splits into smaller branches and these branches supply sensory and motor function to certain areas of the hand and fingers.
Compression on the nerve at the wrist, can result from inflammation, scar tissue, or trauma. Certain people are more prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Professions which require repetitive motion such as typing, carpentry, construction, etc. seem to be prone to the syndrome. Anti-inflammatory medications and wrist splints can be of some help but in many cases, surgery is the best option.
Carpal tunnel release is the surgical procedure which releases the pressure within the carpal tunnel and also removes any scar or inflamed tissue along the nerve. The procedure takes about one hour and patients typically find the operation quite tolerable. Patients are asked to wear a wrist splint for one week after the surgery. Down time is minimal and you can use your fingers and hand for activities of daily living immediately after surgery. Strenuous activity should be avoided for four to six weeks.