The Two Types Of Carpal Tunnel Surgery

29 August 2017
 Categories: , Blog


If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, then you should work with your orthopedic doctor to manage your symptoms. Symptoms will often worsen over time as more and more pressure and stress is placed on the median nerve that runs through your hand. When symptoms are severe, then it may be time to invest in a carpal tunnel surgery. There are two types that can be completed. Keep reading to learn about them.

Open Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

Open carpal tunnel surgery is the traditional operation that is completed with an incision. The procedure involves a one to two inch cut in the wrist right above the transverse carpal ligament. This ligament is the one on the palm side of the wrist that sits over the top of the carpal bones. This band of tissue is also called the flexor retinaculum and it creates a tissue covering over the carpal tunnel. Basically, it protects the muscles, tendons, and nerves that allow the hand and wrist to function. 

The transverse ligament is what causes carpal tunnel syndrome by placing pressure on the tissues and nerves below it. The open surgery allows your surgeon to get a clear picture of the ligament so it can be cut precisely and accurately just above the median nerve. Once the cut is made, the incision is stitched close and the area is bandaged. The procedure is simple and relatively quick. 

Endoscopic Release Surgery

One of the most significant complications of open carpal tunnel surgery is the formation of scar tissue. This tissue develops in two places. It forms along the incision area and it also builds where the ligament was cut to close the carpal tunnel area. If scar tissue forms in abundance, it can place a great deal of pressure on the median nerve and the procedure will fail and symptoms will reoccur.

To prevent the formation of scar tissue, an endoscopic procedure may be performed where incisions are much smaller. The small incision allows your surgeon to insert a small endoscopic camera. The camera identifies the transverse ligament and thin tools are used to cut the tissue. Since the incision is smaller, fewer stitches are needed to close the surgical area. 

You will need to go through healing, splinting, and rehabilitation after the procedure is completed, regardless of the type that is performed. Also, you will need to massage the incision site to keep scar tissue formation at bay.

If you want to know more about carpal tunnel syndrome or the type of procedure that is best for your condition, speak with an orthopedic professional, such as those found at El Camino Center for Sports Medicine‚Äč.