What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome ?
The common condition of Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects the wrist, hand and sometimes complete upper extremity. CTS in pregnancy is the most common problem which is due to swelling caused by fluid retention. The tunnel is (like a narrow canal) located at the base of the palm and is defined by the overlying transverse carpal ligament and wrist bones. The median (a major nerve) and some tendons pass from this tunnel that is responsible for controlling movement and sensation of the hand. This also provides for muscle strength at the bottom of the thumb. A part of the ring finger, little finger and also the outer edges of the palm are unaffected by this condition as the median nerve does not serve these parts.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This common disorder can affect a large number of patients. Its causes include –
- Wrist dislocation and fracture
- Swelling and inflammation around the tendons
- Aberrant anatomy
- Fluid retention
- Rheumatoid and degenerative arthritis
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Swollen feeling in the fingers
- Pins and needles feeling or numbness in the fingers
- Hand weakness
- Difficulty in manipulating small objects
- Numbness or pain that disrupts sleep or get worse at night
- Difficulty in making a fist
- Tingling or burning in the middle fingers, index or thumb that moves up to the arms reaching elbows
- Difficulty in dropping objects or getting hold of the object with the hands
Diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
CTS (Carpel tunnel syndrome) require appropriate diagnosis –
- In order to confirm the diagnosis of CTS within the wrist and hands of the patient, Electrodiagnostic studies (nerve conduction and EMG) are done.
- Complete medical history of the patient is examined.
- This also involves a complete clinical exam. A doctor can ask his patient to perform certain tasks with the help of his hands. This is done in determining the condition of CTS.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
The treatment for CTS depends upon the severity of the condition. A physician may suggest –
- Proper resting should be given to wrist and hands for a long period all through the day.
- One can also wear splints that will help in immobilizing the wrist.
- Daily consumption of nonsteroidal-anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs along with other nonprescription pain relievers for reducing inflammation and pain.
- Occupational therapy is done for loosening the tendons in the wrists and hands.
Surgery for carpel tunnel syndrome is performed when wrist splints or medicines have failed to provide relief from pain. The surgical procedure of CTS is performed under local anesthesia where the patient is awake and his hand or wrist is completely numb. Key hole and open surgery are the two types of CTS surgery.
Keyhole Surgery for Treating CTS
During the keyhole surgery, a 2cm long cut is made in the palm of the patient’s hand. An endoscope is placed through this cut for viewing in the wrist or for viewing pictures on the video screen. This endoscope is attached with a special instrument that helps in cutting the ligament. The cut made in the skin is closed with dissolvable stitches after surgery. The entire procedure takes 10-20 minutes to complete.
Open Surgery for treating CTS
During the open surgery, a single 5cm long cut is made in the front of the wrist at the bottom of the palm. Then carpel tunnel is opened and the ligament is cut for relieving the pressure on the nerve.
Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Every year a large number of people experience from bilateral carpal syndrome. It has been seen that many people suffer from this condition without realizing that they have it. These people ignore nerve twinges, odd feelings of tingling in the fingers and fatigue. This syndrome is due to the pressure caused on the median nerve in both hands. The pressure could due to many things from poor posture to swelling. If this condition is not treated then it can result in constant tingling, brief stabs of sudden pain and numbness. In severe cases, a person may face difficulty in moving their fingers or picking up the objects. Early diagnosis of bilateral carpal tunnel does not require any invasive treatment or surgery. People can use wrist friendly equipment that will help in keeping the wrist straight while using mouse or typing. Also by doing simple exercises and taking regular intervals from work can prove beneficial for decreasing pressure. Another way of reducing pressure is using wrist braces that come in various designs and shapes.
Cost of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery
India provides many benefits to those people who are looking for cost-effective carpal tunnel syndrome surgery. One of the benefits is that carpal tunnel syndrome surgery cost is very low and also all the hospitals offer more advanced technology.