If you have been diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), commonly caused by repetitive stress injury at work, and have determined that surgery if your best course of action for treatment, then you may have several questions about what this will entail. For most patients, their biggest concern has to do with their recovery time, and more specifically, how much time they will need to take off work.
This is particularly important for people who need to type or use their hands and wrists to do their job effectively. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for how long it takes to heal. However, if you are getting this type of surgery, you can expect some significant downtime during the recovery process. The recovery time can also depend on the type of Carpal Tunnel Surgery that you have as each involves a slightly different process. These are the two types of surgeries.
Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery is the more traditional of the two types of CTS surgeries. This is an outpatient procedure, and one that is relatively simple and quick. During this procedure, your surgeon will cut the wrist open to performing the surgery, leaving about a two-inch incision on the inside of the wrist.
This is the slightly less invasive of the two surgeries and involves putting a thin tube through a tiny cut in the wrist and then in the palm. Both cuts are smaller than the incision from the Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery.
While typically, the Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release has a quicker recovery period, both require you to have either a heavy bandage or splint for a week or two.
Your doctor will schedule an appointment to have the bandage removed and then recommend some type of physical therapy program to help you regain strength and range of motion in the area while speeding up healing. Typically, a splint or a similar wrist brace will be required during the initial stages of physical therapy.
Depending on the patient and the type of surgery, the recovery period can take between a few days to a few months.
During this time, you will need to rest the hand and wrist and avoid tasks that can aggravate the area, including typing, writing, and excessive hand and wrist use. Your doctor will talk to you about your normal job responsibilities and inform you of which activities you need to cut back on or avoid.
Every person is different, and every person will heal and recover at a different rate.
The key is making sure that you don’t reaggravate the nerve during this important recovery period and cause further damage and longer necessary recovery time. With this in mind, you may need to take a significant amount of time off of certain work responsibilities in order for your nerve to heal properly.
The good news is, most Carpal Tunnel surgeries have a very high success rate and can help alleviate the pain associated with this syndrome for good.
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