Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in the carpal tunnel of the wrist is compressed. The carpal tunnel is located at the wrist on the palm side of the hand, just beneath the skin’s surface. When this nerve is compressed it results in a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers, commonly the thumb, index, middle and half the ring finger
- “Pins and needles” sensation in the hand and fingers
- Weakness in the hand/trouble grasping objects
- Symptoms worsen at night, when driving, typing on the computer or any other tasks that require repetitive activity with the hands
It is important to note that using a computer and repetitive motion do not cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The cause is actually unknown.
Patients experiencing symptoms, typically start by seeking treatment with their primary care physician. It is most often suggested that patients use a wrist brace, rest, take anti-inflammatory medications, and in severe cases, receive a cortisone injection to try to find some relief. However, if these treatments don’t work, seeking help from an orthopedic surgeon specializing in carpal tunnel syndrome, such as Khurram Pervaiz, MD, a hand, shoulder and elbow specialist with Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland, can bring patients the relief they are searching for.
“Usually by the time a patient sees me, they’ve taken steps to try and relive their discomfort and are ready for surgery,” says Dr. Pervaiz. “I see at least 10 patients every week suffering with this condition, and with the advances in surgical technology, we’re able to surgically help patients with minimal pain and scarring.”
According to Dr. Pervaiz, confirming a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome requires a special test called an Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Study (EMG.) This test can be performed in the office by OACM’s Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation specialist, Timothy Yoon, M.D., who specializes in EMG nerve tests.
New Surgical Technique Provides Marked Relief for Patients
Dr. Pervaiz performs a newer, advanced surgical procedure to alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome called an Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release. This technique is minimally invasive and can be performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient surgery center. A small, one centimeter-long incision is made above the wrist, near the forearm. A telescope is inserted into the carpal tunnel and the ligament is released, eliminating the pressure on the median nerve. “The goal is to take pressure off the nerve, but we’re making a tiny incision, which results in less pain and a quicker recovery,” explains Dr. Pervaiz.
“This minimally invasive procedure is the same as an open carpal tunnel release and is quicker and because of the small incision, it results in a faster recovery with less pain, less scarring and a potentially lower complication rate,” adds Dr. Pervaiz. “Often, patients will come in on a Friday for surgery, are back at work Monday morning, and feel a marked improvement in only a couple of weeks.”
To learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome and endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgery, call (410) 644-1880 or visit www.mdbonedocs.com.