- Sleep with the hand outstretched on a pillow.
- Keep your arm elevated to reduce swelling.
- The local anaesthetic can take up to 8 hours to wear off so hand may still feel a bit tingly for this time.
- On Day 1 after surgery start to do the finger mobility exercises as demonstrated to you by your surgeon.
- Leave the outer dressings on for 2-3 days and try to keep dry. After this, the thicker bandage can be removed.
- A wound check will take place 4-6 days after surgery.
- Your sutures will be removed between days 10-14 after surgery.
- Avoid putting pressure on the wound during the healing phase (first 2 weeks) however light use of the operated hand for everyday activities such as dressing, cooking etc. is encouraged.
- Take oral pain medication as instructed by your surgeon.
- You may experience some discomfort in the days following your surgery however on any increasing pain, redness, swelling, temperatures please contact the clinic on 02073860464
- Once the sutures have been removed care for your scar by massaging and moisturising it daily.
- Heavy lifting and sports that involve the hand should be avoided for 4 weeks post-surgery.
- Depending on your job you can normally return to work after 1-2 weeks
The anaesthetic will take a few hours to wear off so you may still have some tingling in your hand.
Your hand will be slightly swollen and this is helped by elevating your hand above your heart. Sometimes people like to wear a sling to help them remember. This settles over a week or so
Pain settles over a few days and you will need to keep the wound covered until the stitches are removed 10-14 days later.
A gentle movement of the fingers is encouraged from day 1 and very light normal daily use is also advised.
Most people take 1-2 weeks off work depending on their job. If it is a more manual or high repetitive type of work a longer period of recuperation may be required.
Once your sutures are removed, you can increase activities as tolerated but avoid heavy repetitive activities for 4 weeks after surgery. Most patients who have carpal tunnel release regain full use of their hand, with full motion and return of strength within about 4 weeks after their surgery.
There are classically 3 types –
- A standard incision that allows greater view and access but leaves a bigger scar
- A mini-incision that is done through a small incision for direct view ensuring the complete release of the ligament causing the compression
- Endoscopically – that involves putting a mini telescope into the area to cut the ligament and is done under a general anaesthetic.
Dr Turner’s preference is the mini-incision as it allows it to be done under local anaesthetic and gives a perfect view to ensure there is no collateral injury to other structures and is also much quicker as it will generally only take 15-20 minutes to perform.
Guidelines – preparing for carpal tunnel surgery:
- We would advise you not to drive to the clinic on the day of your operation as you will have a bandage on your hand after the procedure.
- Wear loose comfortable clothing above the waist.
- You do NOT need to stop taking your blood-thinning medication prior to surgery.
- Continue taking all your regular medications as normal.
- If you wear rings check that they can be removed easily.
- You may eat and drink normally as the procedure will be carried out in local anaesthetic.
Pain directly at the incision is typically only present for days or weeks after the surgery simple oral medication such as ibuprofen will be sufficient.
Protecting the incision can help alleviate pain, and it’s important to avoid lifting or gripping for several weeks after carpal tunnel surgery.
The hand surgeon will inject a local anaesthetic at the wrist and hand.
Once the area is numb a small cut will be made in the base of the palm of your hand, about 1cm-1.5cm long. Through this incision, the surgeon will cut through the band of tissue on the carpal tunnel releasing the compression on the nerve. During the procedure, a blood pressure cuff will be inflated on the upper arm to reduce blood flow to the operating field.
The procedure takes on average 15 minutes.
Once the cut has been sutured and a dressing applied your doctor will go through the aftercare with you and arrange the follow-up appointments.