Endoscopic carpal tunnel decompression, also called carpal tunnel release surgery, is a minimally invasive procedure that relieves pressure and pain in the wrist. Our surgeons may recommend this procedure to patients experiencing severe pain, numbness, tingling, and limited wrist mobility caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Compared to traditional surgery, patients generally recover quicker and have a lower risk of infection with endoscopic carpal tunnel decompression.
Patients are sedated and the surgery site is cleaned before the procedure begins. During the procedure, a surgeon makes a small incision, approximately one to two inches in length, and inserts an endoscope into the wrist. The endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to it, and it allows our team to view the wrist’s internal structures. This spares the cutting of vital muscles and soft tissues. Once the transverse carpal ligament is dissected, pressure on the median nerve will be released, which should alleviate the patient’s carpal tunnel symptoms. The incision will be closed, and the ligament will develop scar tissue on either end as it heals.
After the endoscopic carpal tunnel decompression, patients will be discharged from the surgery center that same day. To avoid serious complications, a physician may recommend splinting the wrist, keeping the incision site clean and dry, limiting physical activity, and icing the hand to reduce swelling. The recovery process varies from patient to patient; post-operative timelines will be discussed during follow-up visits. Several weeks after the procedure, patients may participate in a physical therapy program to improve flexibility and wrist strength. If complications such continued pain, infections, scarring, or nerve damage develop after surgery, patients will need to notify their surgeon immediately.