Living with carpal tunnel syndrome affects various aspects of your life; it makes it hard to do even simple tasks like turning a door knob or opening a jar. Though conservative treatments may help you in the short term, a carpal tunnel release is the only surefire way to eliminate your symptoms for good.
Dr. Jordi Kellogg and the Kellogg Brain and Spine team offer an endoscopic carpal tunnel release when you have severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Kellogg is an experienced neurosurgeon who helps you return to normal activities after surgery.
Signs of carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes uncomfortable symptoms from compression of your median nerve. The median nerve is located in your arm and runs down to the wrist in a narrow canal called the carpal tunnel.
You may end up with compression of your median nerve for various reasons, including health problems, pregnancy, and repetitive wrist movements.
Carpal tunnel syndrome leads to various uncomfortable symptoms in your hand and wrist. Some of the symptoms you may experience include the following:
- Hand weakness
- Trouble gripping objects
- Tingling in fingers and arms
- Sharp, shock-like pain
- Burning sensations in your fingers
The above symptoms affect only your thumb, middle, ring, and index finger. Your pain may be mild or severe and come and go or be constant. Often, the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome keeps you awake at night.
Unfortunately, carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive disease that only worsens without treatment. If your symptoms are mild, Dr. Kellogg may recommend conservative treatments like splinting, nerve gliding exercises, and steroid injections.
However, if other treatments haven't worked and you have severe symptoms that affect daily living, he often recommends an endoscopic carpal tunnel release.
Understanding endoscopic carpal tunnel release
There are essentially two types of surgery to correct carpal tunnel syndrome: open carpal tunnel release and endoscopic carpal tunnel release. The goal of each surgery is the same — to relieve pressure on the median nerve to eliminate your symptoms.
An endoscopic carpal tunnel release is a less invasive procedure. Dr. Kellogg uses an endoscope to see into the carpal tunnel space. He must make two tiny incisions in your wrist and palm to know the procedure better.
During the procedure, Dr. Kellogg can clearly visualize the affected ligament, allowing him to release it effectively without excessive damage to surrounding tissues.
Although the results are similar, the incision for endoscopic surgery is much smaller than open surgery, which may result in a smaller scar and less sensitivity.
People who undergo an endoscopic carpal tunnel release also suffer fewer complications than an open procedure and can often return to work sooner because of a faster recovery.
Dr. Kellogg evaluates your symptoms and performs a nerve study and an ultrasound or MRI to determine the amount of inflammation and damage in the carpal tunnel space. He then suggests treatment based on these findings.
The results you should expect after surgery
According to the National Library of Medicine, people undergoing endoscopic carpal tunnel release have better grip strength and hand dexterity than those with an open carpal tunnel release.
They also concluded that patients regained better pinch strength after an endoscopic carpal tunnel release. Overall, patient satisfaction was also better in the endoscopic group than in the open carpal tunnel group.
However, both procedures are highly effective in treating carpal tunnel symptoms. You may notice a decrease in your symptoms almost immediately when the anesthetic medication wears off.
It does take a few days for the inflammation and pain to resolve after an endoscopic carpal tunnel release. Still, you should notice a significant difference in your pain and grip strength.
Your symptoms continue to improve as you heal over the next several weeks. Dr. Kellogg has you start occupational therapy to improve your hand function after carpal tunnel surgery.
With therapy and lifestyle modifications to prevent a relapse of the condition, you can expect to regain full function in your hand after an endoscopic carpal tunnel release.
Feel free to call one of our offices in Oregon today to book a consultation for carpal tunnel syndrome, or request an appointment with Dr. Kellogg on our website.