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The carpal tunnel is a band or ring in your hand that resembles a tunnel in its appearance 23. It is made from bone and tight fibrous tissues that, when cut as part of carpal tunnel surgery, cause the band to change shape 12. As a result, nerve pressure disappears along with many of the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome 23. While most side effects associated with carpal tunnel surgery are considered mild, it is nevertheless wise to consider them when weighing the pros and cons of having this surgery 12.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Swelling in the hand is a common side effect immediately following carpal tunnel surgery, referred to by doctors as carpal tunnel release 123. Fortunately this side effect is easily addressed, according to EmedTV.com. For a few days following surgery, simply keep your hand elevated above your heart via a splint or by placing your hand on pillows when resting. The swelling should quickly subside with these small efforts.
- Swelling in the hand is a common side effect immediately following carpal tunnel surgery, referred to by doctors as carpal tunnel release 1.
Trigger Finger Surgery Rehabilitation
Nerve damage that existed prior to surgery can result in numbness post-surgery. This may compromise your ability to make a full recovery in that hand, according to the E-hand.com. The textbook recommends physical therapy for the hand to help minimize this side effect.
Referred to as "pillar pain," mild pain or discomfort where your palm ligaments are attached to the bone is common after carpal tunnel release surgery 12. The pain generally subsides within 6 weeks after surgery. As with numbness, other aches or pains may be a result of previous nerve damage, and should be addressed with physical therapy if the pain persists beyond 6 weeks.
Trigger Finger Surgery Rehabilitation
Recovering From Finger Surgery
Pro & Cons of Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Complications of Radial Tunnel Release Surgery
How to Wrap a Sprained Hand in an ACE Bandage
Recovery Time & Pain After a Partial Knee Replacement
How to Recover From Tendon Surgery on the Hand
How to Splint a Strained Thumb
How to Stretch the Serratus Anterior
Complications After Cubital Tunnel Surgery
- EMedTV.com: Carpal Tunnel Surgery Recovery
- The Mayo Clinic: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- E-Hand.com: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Presazzi A, Bortolotto C, Zacchino M, Madonia L, Draghi F. Carpal tunnel: Normal anatomy, anatomical variants and ultrasound technique. J Ultrasound. 2011;14(1):40-6. doi:10.1016/j.jus.2011.01.006
- Goitz RJ, Fowler JR, Li ZM. The transverse carpal ligament: anatomy and clinical implications. J Wrist Surg. 2014;3(4):233-4. doi:10.1055/s-0034-1394150
- Cleveland Clinic. Carpal tunnel syndrome. Updated October 22, 2019.
- Aboonq MS. Pathophysiology of carpal tunnel syndrome. Neurosciences (Riyadh). 2015;20(1):4–9.
- Cleveland Clinic. Carpal tunnel syndrome: Diagnosis and tests. Updated October 22, 2019.
- Page MJ, O'connor D, Pitt V, Massy-Westropp N. Exercise and mobilisation interventions for carpal tunnel syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(6):CD009899. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009899
- Newington L, Harris EC, Walker-Bone K. Carpal tunnel syndrome and work. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2015;29(3):440–453. doi:10.1016/j.berh.2015.04.026
- Wright AR, Atkinson RE. Carpal tunnel syndrome: An update for the primary care physician. Hawaii J Health Soc Welf. 2019;78(11 Suppl 2):6–10.
- Cleveland Clinic. Carpal tunnel syndrome: Management and treatment. Updated October 22, 2019.
Based in Charlotte, N.C., Virginia Franco has more than 15 years experience freelance writing. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the education magazine "My School Rocks" and Work.com. Franco has a master's degree in social work with an emphasis in health care from the University of Maryland and a journalism degree from the University of Richmond.