Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), also known as median nerve compression, occurs when pressure increases on the median nerve inside the wrist as it passes through the carpal tunnel causing either pain, tingling or aching in your hand. If you, or someone you know, are experiencing this syndrome, then the hand surgeons at Plastic Surgeon of Northern Arizona are here to help relieve the pain.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME
What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a result of numerous factors that can cause irritation to certain areas in your hand and wrist, such as repetitive use due to an activity such as typing, assembly line work, or certain sports. When this irritation occurs, nerve signals to the palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger, or thumb side of the ring finger, are affected. In some cases, carpal tunnel syndrome is not caused by one single issue, but certain risk factors that are not commonly known. These may include:
- Gender – CTS is more commonly found in women, as their carpal tunnel area is smaller compared to men. Some women may have smaller carpal tunnels compared to other women, as well.
- Nerve-damaging and inflammatory conditions – Nerve-damaging conditions can stem from chronic illnesses like diabetes, causing damage to the carpal tunnel. However, rheumatoid arthritis, along with other conditions that have inflammatory flare ups, can add pressure to your carpal tunnel as well.
- Medications – According to an article published on Cancer Therapy Advisor, one such medication has been linked with a side effect of causing carpal tunnel syndrome known as anastrozole (Arimidex), which is used to treat breast cancer.
- Obesity – Being overweight poses numerous health risks, including CTS.
- Other medical conditions – If you are going through menopause, have issues with your thyroid, kidney failure or lymphedema, these could increase your risk of getting CTS.
When you have carpal tunnel syndrome, the symptoms you may experience can range from a tingling or numbing feel or weakness where you’re unable to grab items. The tingling feeling usually comes from your thumb, index, middle or ring fingers, but not your pinky finger. Often times these sensations will travel up your arm after holding an item like your phone or car keys. It could even wake you in your sleep. Some people try to shake the feeling away, but it comes back over time.
Treatments & Recovery
At Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona, your carpal tunnel symptoms can often be treated non-surgically by changing your daily habits, wearing a splint, and by taking anti-inflammatory medications. If, however, these techniques do not work to alleviate your pain and numbness, surgery may be needed. Our highly skilled, hand surgeons offer Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Surgery because only a very small incision is required, which results in a much faster recovery time.
During the surgery, the transverse carpal ligament is cut, releasing the pressure on the median nerve and alleviating your symptoms. The procedure is performed at Northern Arizona SurgiCenter, which is our privately owned, fully licensed, certified, and AAAHC-accredited ambulatory surgery center located in the lower level of the Hand Center of Northern Arizona’s building in Flagstaff.
Recovery times will depend on your commitment to rehabilitative physical therapy, but for most of our patients, they are back to work in 2-3 weeks.
Have you been experiencing annoying pain in your hand and wrist or finding it difficult to grip certain items? Then give us a call to meet with one of our plastic surgeons to see how to diagnose your symptoms and if surgery is necessary.
Our surgeons at Plastic Surgeons of Northern Arizona are all hand surgery specialists who treat a variety of hand problems, like carpal tunnel syndrome. Our goal is to restore your hand to its full function, mobility, and improve appearance so that our patients can return to their normal activities without experiencing anymore pain. To learn more about endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery at the Hand Center of Northern Arizona, contact us today at (928) 774-2300 or (800) 962-1390 to schedule a Carpal Tunnel surgery consultation at any of our five Northern Arizona locations.