When Do You Need Carpal Tunnel Surgery?
Doctors and surgeons will always avoid surgery if possible as rehabilitation from surgery can be a length process, scar tissue is introduced to your wrist after surgery and minimally invasive treatments are always preferred. Your doctor and surgeon know that a surgery will require the "release" or cutting of some of your wrist tissue, and so they will recommend treatment to avoid surgery at all costs.
A surgeon will operate to relieve pain from your carpal tunnel syndrome if you have an injury that is at least 6 months old, where you still experience symtoms even after trying conversative treatment methods.
Some conservative treatment methods recommended include:
- Rest - This is important for initial healing because without an appropriate amount of rest you are at risk for increased inflammation, pain and re-injury of your wrist. All of which can make your wrist injury much worse or increase the amount of pressure placed on your median nerve.
- Avoid Activities that may have Caused Your Injury - While resting your wrist it's also important to avoid all activities that may have caused your symptoms and any repetitive hand or wrist movement. This may include reduced activities in your job if that has caused your wrist injury. Continuing on with regular activities can increase the severity of your injury, turning a mild to moderate case of carpal tunnel syndrome into serious damage of your median nerve.
- Apply Effective Cold Compression - Immediate cold compression (using the ColdCure Technology® Wrist Freezie Wrap®) will allow you to manage pain while getting rid of swelling and inflammation. Immediate reduction in swelling can also relieve some of the pressure that is being placed on the nerve in your wrist and deal with the cause of your carpal tunnel injury.
- Use Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) - After swelling and inflammation has been reduced and you begin to notice a decrease in numbness and tingling from your carpal tunnel syndrome, you can use your own blood flow to maximize your rehabilitation, decrease recovery time, and boost overall long-term healing. BFST® is especially helpful in dealing with flexor or extensor tendon injuries or on-going pain and stiffness from a sprained wrist.
- Wear a Wrist Splint/Brace - Splinting or bracing your wrist over night or during difficult daily activities that place stress on your wrist can help to reduce your symptoms. In order to be helpful, a wrist splint should hold your wrist in a neutral position. If your wrist is held correctly in a netural position less pressure will be placed on your median nerve and your tendons will stay in one position long enough to start the natural healing process. You have to be careful with your choice of splint though, some doctors report...
"Many commercial and even some custom-made splints fail to hold the wrists in a neutral position." (reference: WebMD)
Denervation of the Median Nerve
Doctors will also recommend surgery if you suffer from "denervation" of your median nerve. Denervation means that a branch of your median nerve has disconnected from the muscles at the base of your thumb. Some signs of denervation include wasting away (atrophy) of the thumb muscles. Unfortunately it's impossible for the nerves in your hand/wrist to reconnect with your thumb muscles after these muscles become disconnected.
You can sometimes regain feeling in your hand after carpal tunnel surgery, but muscle strength and range of motion usually don't improve. You will also be unable to regain any muscle lost due to denervation.
The most common surgical procedure to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome is a carpal tunnel release. During this procedure your doctor will cut the band of tissue around your wrist (flexor retinaculum) that covers your injured/inflamed tendons and median nerve or they will cut the transverse carpal ligament. Cutting this band of tissue is supposed to relieve the pressure being placed on your median nerve. The hope is that cutting this tissue will also reduce many of your symptoms (numbness, tingling, throbbing pain).
Scar tissue will be problematic for long-term recovery after carpal tunnel surgery. There are a few differnt methods of performing a carpal tunnel release that may reduce the amount of long-term scar tissue that you have to deal with.
As with any surgery there are risks to every procedure depending on a lot of factors, including your age, the severity of your injury and your level of health going into the procedure. It is always best to discuss all possible risks and complications with your doctor, orthopaedic specialist and/or surgeon before the procedure. It's important to be aware of the risks you may face with any procedure intended to fix or relieve pain from your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or other wrist injury.
Open Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
This is the traditional carpal tunnel release surgery . During this open procedure two incisions (3 cm in length) are made on the hand/wrist. One incision is made vertically on the palm of the hand and the 2nd incision is curved right under the hand at the top of the wrist. This curved incision is made right near a major branch of the median nerve. Many doctors are now opting for the "mini-palm" open procedure to avoid the risk of injury to the median nerve with this 2nd incision used in traditional open release surgery.
Two open incisions provide enough room for the surgeon to cut through the band of tissue covering your wrist (the flexor retinaculum) or the transverse carpal ligament to "release" the carpal tunnel. The surgeon will usually make 3 cuts in this band to seperate components of this tissue and make more room for the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. After the cuts have been made the surgeon will inspect your wrist to see that the median nerve has enough room. If the surgeon is satisfied with the work that has been done they will then close your skin over the incisions.
"Mini-Palm" or "Mini-Open" Carpal Tunnel Repair
During this procedure the surgeon will make one 3 cm long incision vertically on the palm of your hand. After this incision is opened up, the surgeon will find the band of tissue covering your median nerve and make 3 cuts into this tissue with a pair of surgical scissors.
After the band of tissue has been cut, your surgeon will check to make sure that this surgery has provided enough room for your median nerve and then close your skin over the incision. Unlike the traditional method of an open surgery, this procedure has less risks and complications involved (particularly concerning the branches of your median nerve). To learn about all risks you may face be sure to speak to your doctor.
Both the open and mini-palm open procedures remain the 'gold standard' in carpal tunnel release surgeries, but they do leave a larger scar than endoscopic surgery.
Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
This is a newer procedure used to release the carpal tunnel. This proceudre is known to have a much shorter time for post-surgery rehabilitation because the wrist is not fully opened up like in the open or "mini-palm" open release procedures. Some individuals that undergo this surgery can even return to work and regular activities 2 weeks sooner than in an open release.
This procedure can be done in 2 different ways depending on the preference and experience of your surgeon (with 1 or 2 incisions).
During this procedure the surgeon will make much smaller incisions (each approx. 0.5 cm in length) than in an open release procedure and insert a mini camera (endoscope) into one of the incisions to see the inside of the wrist.
For the 1 incision (single-portal) procedure: The endoscope and the cutting instrument will be inserted into the same incision at the base of the hand/top of the wrist.
For the 2 incision (two-portal) procedure: The endoscope will be inserted into 1 incision at the base of the hand/top of the wrist and the cutting instrument will be inserted into a 2nd incision in the palm of the hand.
Endoscopic techniques usually require a very skilled surgeon because less of the internal wrist anatomy is seen. There are also more risks with this procedure because the median nerve is not fully seen or inspected, it is only view via a television screen from the mini camera. Be sure to speak to your suregeon to learn about all risks you may face during an endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery.
How Do You Recover From CTS Surgery - What Can You Do To Avoid Surgery?
The good news is that most cases of carpal tunnel syndrome will heal with simple home conservative treatments and surgery is often not needed!
First you need to stop the activity that is causing your pain and rest your hand/wrist. Focus on treating the soft tissue injury causing your capral tunnel syndrome to reduce your symptoms of swelling/inflammation that will in turn release the pressure being placed on your median nerve.
When it comes to temperature therapy what's better to treat your carpal tunnel - heat or cold?
Cold Compression Therapy with a Wrist Freezie Wrap®
RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) has been recommended for years by doctors, trainers, and other medical professionals to treat the pain and swelling, chronic pain from injury and after any re-injury. Overuse injuries need rest and time for the tissue to heal.
Although RICE can help to treat these symptoms, ice and freezer gel packs reach temperatures so low they can cause cryoburn, an ice burn on your skin. The problem is, up until now there hasn't been any other option to treat painful conditions and injuries, so ice and blue gel packs (full of anti-freeze and chemicals) have been the only choice up until now.
Fortunately you no longer have to settle for these ice cold methods that are uncomfortably cold against your skin, provide short term relief, cause ice burns, numb your skin and underlying tissue beyond feeling so you don't even notice the ice burn until it's too late and pool around your injury putting the cold everywhere except for where you need it most.
A Wrist Freezie Wrap® allows you to treat your wrist in an effective and convenient way. Our Freezie Wraps® will wrap around your wrist keeping the cold right over your carpal tunnel injury for the entire length of your treatment. Our food-grade, non-toxic gel packs can be chilled in the fridge or freezer to tailor the amount of cold that you need for your injury. It doesn't matter how you cool it down, because our gel packs are chock full of gel that's designed to cool down into millions of tiny snowflakes. This method of cooling means our gel packs aren't icy-cold and stay flexible even right out of the freezer! The cushioned gel will wrap around your wrist and it won't budge for the entire treatment period. You'll no longer have to deal with annoying pooling around your wrist or have to hold a hard block of ice on your injury!
Tailor your treatment to your own level of comfort - use a Wrist Freezie Wrap® out of the fridge OR freezer. It's important to treat yourself with whatever your body is comfortable with. So if that means you can't handle a lot of cold, then use your cold packs for 10 minutes out of the fridge instead. You'll stil get all the benefits of cold compression therapy but with a treatment that's tailored for your needs. It's as simple as that.
Cold Compression Therapy with a Freezie Wrap® works by stopping and slowing nerve and cell function in the area and reducing swelling that can block blood vessels.
This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through the tissue and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells don't get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to the tendons in your wrist, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal carpal tunnel injuries faster and with less pain! This is why you need to treat your carpal tunnel wrist pain right after it's hurt, when you notice pain / swelling / inflammation, or directly after a re-injury. Applying a Wrist Freezie Wrap® right away will stop the damage immediately and unblock your blood vessels to let your body's natural blood flow in to start healing the tissue.
BFST® with a Wrist Inferno Wrap®
After the inflammation in your wrist has been reduced, providing extra blood flow and strengthening the tissue in your carpal tunnel is recommended for complete healing.
Using Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®), will help with your recovery and heal your damaged tissue more completely. BFST® increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your soft tissue to nourish your injury, improving elasticity and speeding the healing process. This increased Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy to the tendons and ligaments in your wrist is greatly needed.
The only way to get BFST® is through use of a Wrist Inferno Wrap®. The Wrist Inferno Wrap® is the only treatment method that improves blood flow and circulation on a deep tissue level. Other methods of warming / heating tissue (hot water bottles, hot baths, etc) will only ever increase blood flow on a surface / skin level. These methods need a LOT of time to even reach the tissue in your carpal tunnel on a deep tissue level. And even if you were to use them this long your skin would heat up to an uncomfortable level and may even burn you.
The best source of heat treatment is from a product where you don't even feel that much heat. When you don't feel the heat, it means the therapy is working in your deep soft tissue which is really where you need it. It's kind of like how your heart works in your body. You can't "feel" your heart pumping blood all around your body to your arms and legs. You can't even hear your own heartbeat without listening very closely. This is exactly how deep tissue BFST® works too! You're not supposed to "feel" a lot of heat because the heat isn't treating your skin, it's treating the damaged tissue in your wrist by increasing the blood flow right in your soft tissue. Over time with consistent treatments you'll even notice that the warmth you feel from BFST® will decrease. This is a sign that you've successfully increased blood flow right at the source of your pain and your body is doing everything it can to speed up the healing process.
The Wrist Inferno Wrap® is the only product available anywhere that offers BFST® AND a thin, flexible Energy Web® (heating element) that conforms around your wrist.
This Energy Web® also provides consistent, uniform heat all around your wrist to increase blood flow in the entire joint.
Our Wrist Inferno Wrap® is made from medical-grade material - this should be as important to you as it is to us! Other products that are sold in stores are considered "consumer goods" meaning the material only needs to be as good as a sweater that you wear. Clothing articles like this don't need to meet high standards of production or materials and may include materials that irritate your skin.
Since our wraps are medical-grade products registered with the FDA, they are of a higher quality and need to meet way more standards for manufacturing (ISO 10993 - biocompatibility testing). This makes our wraps the safest product for heating treatment. Our manufacturer has spent years perfecting the wrap design to make sure you get the treatment you deserve!
Our Carpal Tunnel Therapy Formula
is Proven to Work!
It may seem hard to believe, but our Wrist Freezie Wrap® and Wrist Inferno Wrap® home therapy products will assist you in recovering from your carpal tunnel syndrome by maximizing blood flow where it's needed most and reducing your swelling and inflammation induced pain.
Here at AidMyCTS we pride ourselves in helping you with your healing and recovery process. Everyone at AidMyCTS has tested and used the products, finding solutions to conditions that do not fit into the norm. This dedication to our customers and our products goes hand-in-hand with our guarantees to you as a customer:
- Guarantee #1 - Use your products diligently for up to 60 days and you will experience a significant reduction in pain. If not, we encourage you to send back the items for a 100% refund.
- Guarantee #2 - You will not be left in the dark after purchasing any product form us. AidMyCTS Advisers and Product Specialists are available 7 days a week by toll free phone 1.866.237.9608 or email to answer your questions or concerns.
- Guarantee #3 - Your order is guaranteed to be shipped within 24 hours on every business day.
- Guarantee #4 - All purchases receive a one year, full replacement warranty with guaranteed, prompt service.
- Guarantee #5 - You could save hundreds of dollars and possibly more, by utilizing our products, and getting back to work sooner.
In our testing we discovered that the fit of our wrap will differ with our customers with smaller or larger hands/wrists to provide full treatment coverage. If you find your wrap doesn't cover the area you need to treat, then try using it without the loop around your thumb, wrapping the wrap around your wrist in a different way, or shifting the wrap around until it covers your wrist where you need the treatment most.
Continue the healing process by resting your wrist. Limit the activities that may be aggravate your wrist. Without proper rest and limitation on activities, being active as if your wrist is healthy can lead to re-injury. Our hands give us the ability to perform both large and small complex motor skills - like picking up a heavy object or doing fine, detailed work. We often need both of these skills to perform everyday tasks like working on a computer, cleaning, putting away groceries, gardening, or playing sports. To get back to doing the things you love you need to give your body proper care and attention. Why risk having to limit or give up your favorite weekend activity, your exercise routine, or even your job due to a carpal tunnel injury?
Prevention and Promotion of Lifelong Health
If you want to avoid re-injury, or manage pain and increase circulation for lifelong health benefits, a Wrist Freezie Wrap® and Wrist Inferno Wrap®, will provide exceptional results. Why spend time in pain, off from work, and missing out on your active lifestyle when you can be proactive about your injury and the health of your body? Talk to your doctor about incorporating a regular routine of using a Wrist Freezie Wrap® and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ into your everyday health regimen.
Call one of our AidMyCTS Advisers at no cost or obligation to address any lingering questions you have about using heat or cold for your wrist injury - toll free 1-866-237-9608
Learn More About SUPERIOR Carpal Tunnel Treatments
Learn more about how the Wrist Freezie Wrap® is designed to be the most effective cold compression wrap on the market today.
Learn more about how the Wrist Inferno Wrap® helps with the healing process.