If your carpal tunnel symptoms are severe, or if they continue after you have tried nonsurgical therapy, your doctor may discuss surgery with you. At NYU Langone, surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome does not require general anesthesia. Your hand and wrist are numbed using local anesthesia, and you can go home several hours after the procedure.
Open release surgery is the most common surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome at NYU Langone. During this short, outpatient procedure, your doctor makes a small incision in the wrist and releases a tight band of fibrous tissue inside the carpal tunnel called the transverse carpal ligament. This enlarges the carpal tunnel and reduces pressure on the median nerve.
You may need to wear a splint for a week after surgery. Pain, numbness, or tingling in your hand and fingers usually decreases quickly. Depending on your profession, you may return to work in a few days. Complete recovery may take six weeks or longer.
After surgery, you and your doctor work together to create a rehabilitation plan that is designed to help you return to your usual activities as soon as possible and may include physical and occupational therapy.
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