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New carpal tunnel surgery takes just 15 minutes

People who have never had carpal tunnel syndrome may be curious about the condition, while those who are experiencing it or have in the past know how painful and debilitating it can be. Carpal tunnel is an example of a repetitive stress work injury that can be caused by performing certain tasks, such as typing or lifting, over and over for a long time.

For those interested in the medical science behind the condition, carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes squeezed at the point it enters the wrist. This can affect the sensations and motion of the thumb and fingers.

Fortunately, in many cases carpal tunnel can be managed without surgery. Braces can help, at least for a while. More severe cases can mean surgery, but the operation can be minimally invasive and quick.

As an example, a man whose job involves installing beverage equipment developed carpal tunnel syndrome due to years of heavy lifting. For 18 months, moving his right hand a certain way caused a shock of stinging pain. The condition affected his ability to work and sleep.

Then he consulted with a doctor, who recommended endoscopic carpal tunnel release. That is a procedure to relieve the pressure on the nerve that is causing the pain and discomfort. According to the surgeon, the procedure only takes about 15 minutes and leaves a very small scar. And it works just as well as the traditional surgery, the surgeon says.

Though treatment is available for many carpal tunnel patients, it may be necessary to miss work for a significant time, and some jobs may no longer be possible. Workers’ compensation can help during the recovery period.

Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, “New carpal tunnel surgery ‘minimally invasive’,” Larry Gierer, Nov. 4, 2013

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