For many years medical professionals thought that carpal tunnel was a condition that only people with typing careers suffered, but with the help of modern technology and advanced medicine, doctors are finding that the condition is a lot more common than once thought.
Recent studies have shown that at least 4 percent of the population suffers from carpal tunnel, and people of all ages and activity are susceptible to it.
Dr. Randy Lovell, an orthopedic surgeon with Spectrum Health, explains the many options patients can choose from to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition caused by compression of a key nerve in the wrist.
With help from experts at the Hand and Upper Extremity Program at Spectrum Health Medical Group, they can give patients numerous options to relieve the pain, with many of them being non-surgical.
A typical nonsurgical management for carpal tunnel will start with a regiment of anti-inflammatories to relieve inflammation both around the nerves and tendons that live around the carpal tunnel with the median nerve, which is the most effective nerve.
The next step is to splint the wrist, this is to hold the wrist in a neutral posture. If numbness, tingling, or other symptoms don't improve, the next option is to move on to surgery.
There are two main ways doctors can deal with carpal tunnel surgically. The first is the carpal tunnel approach, the most common performed procedure in the country to alleviate this condition. Patients are put under an antithetic, and doctors make an incision along the central access of the palm. Then they move down to the carpal tunnel ligament, and divide or release it. Afterwords, the patient should feel relief of pressure on the median nerve, and symptoms should decrease immensely, or disappear completely.
The other procedure that patients can choose is scalpel carpal tunnel release, which is similar to the carpal tunnel approach. The difference is that the incision for scalpel carpal tunnel release is made over the wrist. Instead of the thicker and more sensitive tissue of the palm being invaded, it's a small incision at the base of the palm near the wrist.
Then doctors insert a small video camera into the carpal tunnel ligament with a small device attached to the end of it, which is used to transfuse the carpal tunnel ligament.
The results of both surgeries are the same, however recovery time is longer for the first option than then later.
Spectrum Health Medical Group Orthopedics can be found at 4100 Lake Drive Southeast in Suite 300. To contact Dr. Lovell, or learn more information about treatment options for carpal tunnel, call (616) 267-8860.