Practice Policy Update regarding COVID-19

Delaying Carpal Tunnel Surgery Might be a Bad Idea

Delaying Carpal Tunnel Surgery Might be a Bad Idea
Delaying Carpal Tunnel Surgery Might be a Bad Idea

Delaying Carpal Tunnel Surgery Might be a Bad Idea

Have you been experiencing tingling and numbness in the hand pain that worsens when performing certain movements? Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve in your wrist. The median nerve's compression in the carpal tunnel leads to pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome may affect one or both hands. The symptoms are usually worse in the evening and can last months, and may disrupt routine activities.

Whether to have surgery is based on your symptom severity—how much pain, weakness, and numbness you are experiencing. In long-standing cases with constant numbness and the wasting of your thumb muscles, surgery may be recommended to prevent further damage. Delaying surgery could result in permanent damage and muscle atrophy.

Signs it's time to meet with a surgeon:

  • The symptoms are so severe that they restrict your normal activities.
  • Your symptoms have not improved over several weeks to months of nonsurgical treatment.
  • You have lost your hand, thumb, or finger function, which indicates your median nerve is compromised, and you are at risk for permanent median nerve damage.

Waiting too long to get surgery can sometimes lead to irreversible nerve damage. If your carpal tunnel symptoms haven't responded to non-surgical approaches like activity changes, splinting, injections, wrist exercises, and rest, it is time to consider surgery. The surgery takes 10 minutes under a local anesthetic. Expect some pain, swelling, and stiffness after your procedure. Minor soreness in your palm may last for several weeks to several months. Grip and pinch strength usually return by about 2 to 3 months after surgery.

If you suspect you have carpal tunnel syndrome, see your doctor. If left untreated, the condition can disrupt your daily life. If you have been suffering from carpal tunnel pain that prevents you from doing the things you enjoy, consult the specialist at South Palm Orthopedics for an evaluation & treatment recommendation call today (561) 496-6622.

Dr. Steve E. Meadows is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with advanced fellowship training in hand and upper extremity surgery. He practices general orthopedic surgery with a subspecialty interest in shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand problems. Dr. Meadows performs numerous upper extremity surgeries per year, including rotator cuff repair, shoulder replacement, reverse shoulder replacement, fracture repair, carpal tunnel release and trigger finger release. Our team of physicians provides an advanced level of care, integrating the newest cutting-edge surgical and nonsurgical techniques, with proven traditional methods of treatments. The physicians at South Palm Orthopedics are committed to providing the highest level of orthopedic care to each and every patient each and every time.