Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects nearly 12 million Americans. CTS occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it goes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist, being trapped under the transverse carpal ligament (TCL). CTS is typically caused by repetitive hand and finger motion. Common examples are typing, mousing, gaming on computers, playing an instrument, manual labor that especially requires a significant amount of gripping and other similar activities. CTS symptoms include numbness, tingling and burning in the thumb. and fingers and often wakes you up at night. You may feel weakness of the hand or difficulty with coordination. Sometimes shock-like sensations. in the wrist or fingers. Historically the diagnosis is made with EMG/NCV. This procedure can be painful as it involved shocking the nerves or muscles. We can now make the CTS diagnosis with Ultrasound (US), a painless procedure.
The goal of surgical intervention is to cut the transverse carpal ligament (TCL) to reduce compression of the median nerve, which significantly decreases the pain, numbness and tingling as well as improving your function. Traditional open CTR surgeries are relatively safe and effective, but may lead to painful scars and your return to normal activities and work may be prolonged up to 2-6 weeks or months. (Endoscopic CTR may help, but is more expensive and potential greater risk of postoperative nerve symptoms.)