Learn all about carpal tunnel syndrome
About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a frequent, often neglected pathology that can cause irreversible sequelae if not treated promptly.
Carpal tunnel syndrome primarily affects men and women over the age of fifty. Its frequency is four times greater in women than in men, probably for hormonal reasons.
Do you think you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome?
Causes of carpal tunnel syndrome
The causes of carpal tunnel syndrome are multiple and difficult to identify. Age, sex, hormonal disorders, particularly related to pregnancy and menopause, as well as certain chronic diseases, are considered the main risk factors. Professional occupation, sports activities and repetitive manual tasks can also promote the onset of the disease.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel disease
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are typical and include swelling and then a sensation of numbness, mostly felt at night and on waking up.
Tingling, burning sensations, pain, loss of sensitivity and loss of dexterity are other frequent signs. It is not uncommon for the disease to be bilateral, although often of unequal intensity.
How to recognize carpal tunnel syndrome?
Clinical examination and a description of symptoms by the patient are usually used to make a diagnosis. Various challenge tests can also be used to assess symptoms and measure the severity of the syndrome. Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction tests are sometimes recommended to assess the degree of nerve impairment and accurately localize the site of nerve compression.
Conservative management includes nerve stretching and slip exercises, wearing a splint at night, prevention of non-ergonomic postures, and reduction or elimination of repetitive movements. Cortisone injections may be indicated for the purpose of temporarily relieving pressure within the carpal tunnel. Finally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and controlling chronic diseases helps to reduce the likelihood of developing the disease.
Two types of surgical procedures are offered to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. The conventional or “open” method of decompression consists of making a four-centimeter incision in the palm of the hand to cut the transverse ligament of the carpus and reduce the pressure on the median nerve. Endoscopic decompression allows the ligament to be cut selectively using miniaturized instruments and a mini-camera (endoscope) inserted through a 1 cm incision in the forearm. This last procedure is performed in a few minutes under local anesthesia and generally does not require a suture.
How to choose your surgeon
Because decompression of the carpal tunnel, particularly the endoscopic method, requires precision expertise and advanced anatomical knowledge of the hand, it is best to turn to a hand surgeon. You should do your research, check the experience and references of the surgeon, and then make an appointment for an initial consultation. The chosen practitioner should inspire a sense of trust, demonstrate a good listening quality and be able to answer all your questions. It is also a good idea to be accompanied during your consultation in order to maximize understanding.