Carpal tunnel surgery after care

carpal tunnel surgery after care

What happens during carpal tunnel release surgery?

When can I take bandage off after carpal tunnel surgery?

How long are you out of work after carpal tunnel surgery?

What can you not do after carpal tunnel surgery?
How do you treat the incision after carpal tunnel surgery?

 

What happens during carpal tunnel release surgery?

You usually lie on your back for carpal tunnel release surgery, with your arm stretched out on a special operating board by your side. Your nurse will check that you’re in a comfortable position. You may have a tourniquet around the top of your arm. A tourniquet is a tight cuff that stops blood flow in your arm during the operation.

You’ll be given local anaesthetic injections so you won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure. Your surgeon will test whether or not you can feel any pain before starting the operation. You may still feel some pressure once the anaesthetic is working. If this happens, tell your surgeon so that you can have a higher dose of anaesthetic.

The tourniquet is then inflated, a bit like a blood pressure cuff used to take blood pressure. It inflates until it completely stops blood flowing into your hand. Once the tourniquet is inflated, your surgeon can start the operation, which takes about 20 minutes.

Your surgeon will make a cut near the bottom of your palm, and divide your carpal ligament to relieve pressure on your median nerve. Once this is done, your surgeon will close the cut in your skin with stitches and apply a bandage. You may be advised to wear a wrist splint.

 

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What to expect afterwards

After a local anaesthetic, it may take several hours before the feeling comes back into your wrist and hand. Take special care not to bump or knock your hand, and be extra careful around anything hot such as kettles or radiators. You may feel tingling in your hand as the anaesthetic wears off and the feeling in your wrist and hand returns.

Carpal tunnel release surgery isn’t usually painful. But you may need pain-relief medicines such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to ease any discomfort.

Your bandage will protect and support your hand, but you will still be able to wriggle your fingers. Keeping your arm up will help to reduce any swelling. Wriggle your fingers regularly to keep your blood flowing properly, and to reduce any stiffness.

Before you go home, your nurse will give you some advice about caring for your healing wound. It’s important to keep your bandage dry after your operation. This means wearing a rubber glove or plastic bag when you have a bath or shower.

You’ll usually be able to leave the hospital when you feel ready. Before you leave, you may be given a date for a follow-up appointment. This is usually six to eight weeks after your surgery.

 

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When can I take bandage off after carpal tunnel surgery?

The stitches are removed 10 days after surgery. Protect the wound with a clean gauze and light bandage for 3 days following surgery (change daily or when soiled). Following removal of the dressing at 3 days you may shower and let water run over the incisions. Try to limit showers to no more than 5–7 minutes. After your surgery, you may be encouraged to do the following: Elevate your hand above your heart and move your fingers to reduce swelling and prevent stiffness. Ice the surgical site for a given amount of time, a few times a day. You may need to wear a splint or wrist brace for several weeks.

How long are you out of work after carpal tunnel surgery?

If you had open surgery on your dominant hand and you do repeated actions at work, you may be able to return to work in 6 to 8 weeks. Repeated motions include typing or assembly-line work. If the surgery was on the other hand and you do not do repeated actions at work, you may be able to return to work in 7 to 14 days. Individual return to work decision-making was largely influenced by the recommendations received. According to the views of participants, clinicians may be able to prepare patients better pre-operatively, especially with respect to function in the immediate post-operative period and by providing return to work guidance that can be tailored for individual work roles.

 

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What can you not do after carpal tunnel surgery?

For up to 2 weeks after surgery, avoid lifting things heavier than 0.5 to 1 kilogram and using your hand. This includes doing repeated arm or hand movements, such as typing or using a computer mouse, washing windows, vacuuming, or chopping food. Do not use power tools, and avoid activities that cause vibration.

 

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How do you treat the incision after carpal tunnel surgery?

The stitches are removed 10 days after surgery. Protect the wound with a clean gauze and light bandage for 3 days following surgery (change daily or when soiled). Following removal of the dressing at 3 days you may shower and let water run over the incisions. Try to limit showers to no more than 5–7 minutes. Not everyone needs to see a physiotherapist after surgery unless there is a problem with scar pain or stiffness. Some general rules that are useful for everyone are:

  • Hand elevation is important to prevent swelling and stiffness of the fingers.
  • Remember not to walk with your hand dangling, or to sit with your hand held in your lap.
  • It is fine, however, to lower your hand for light use and you should get back to normal light activities as soon as possible as guided by common sense.
  • It is safe to use the fingers for day-today activities such as eating, dressing, brushing your hair. These activities all help to prevent stiffness and swelling.

10 common question about carpal tunnel surgery after care

1How do you take care of your hands after carpal tunnel surgery?
After your surgery, you may be encouraged to do the following: Elevate your hand above your heart and move your fingers to reduce swelling and prevent stiffness. Ice the surgical site for a given amount of time, a few times a day. You may need to wear a splint or wrist brace for several weeks.
2How long before you can use your hand after carpal tunnel surgery?
Most patients who have carpal tunnel release regain full use of their hand, with full motion and return of strength within about 4 weeks after their surgery.
3What should you do after carpal tunnel surgery?
Pain directly at the incision is typically only present for days or weeks after the surgery. Protecting the incision can help alleviate pain, and it's important to avoid lifting or gripping for several weeks after carpal tunnel surgery. ... Treatments for pillar pain may include rest, massage, and hand therapy.
4Should you wear a splint after carpal tunnel surgery?
What happens after carpal tunnel surgery? Your wrist will likely be in a heavy bandage or a splint for 1 to 2 weeks. Doctors usually schedule another appointment to remove the bandage or splint. During this time, you may be encouraged to move your fingers to help prevent stiffness.
5How long after carpal tunnel surgery will numbness go away?
The stitches are removed 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. The pain and numbness may go away right after surgery or may take several months to subside.
6When can I remove the dressing after carpal tunnel surgery?
After surgery, the hand is wrapped in a bulky dressing. The stitches are removed 10 days after surgery. Protect the wound with a clean gauze and light bandage for 3 days following surgery (change daily or when soiled). Following removal of the dressing at 3 days you may shower and let water run over the incisions.
7Do you wear a cast after carpal tunnel surgery?
Postsurgery care for carpal tunnel release Your surgeon will apply a bandage or splint to protect your hand and arm after surgery. While the surgery quickly relieves pain and numbness, it takes at least four weeks to recover.
8Do I need physical therapy after carpal tunnel surgery?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Hand therapy after surgery can help you heal more quickly and achieve optimal function. During hand therapy, exercises are performed to improve nerve healing, increase range of motion and strength, reduce the formation of scar tissue, and decrease swelling.
9How can I strengthen my wrist after carpal tunnel surgery?
Wrist Flex and Extend Hold your arm straight out in front of you, wrist and hand straight, palm of your hand facing down. Bend your wrist down so your fingers point toward the floor. Use your other hand to increase the stretch, gently pulling the fingers toward your body. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
10How much pain is there after carpal tunnel surgery?
At three months following carpal tunnel surgery, your numbness and pain still could be byproducts of the procedure. Many people find the incision causes pain and irritation as it heals. In addition, a condition called 'pillar pain,' which is a localized reaction to the surgery, can lead to discomfort.

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