What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition where there is increased pressure on a nerve that crosses the front of your wrist (the median nerve). 

The median nerve runs through a tight tunnel, together with the tendons that bend your fingers. If the tunnel becomes too tight it can cause pressure on the nerve, usually resulting in pain or numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers.

Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Pain in your fingers, hand or arm
  • Numbness, tingling or pins and needles 
  • A weak thumb or difficulty gripping

Symptoms often start slowly, often come and go and are usually worse at night.

 

Surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel release is usually performed under a local anaesthetic and takes about 20 minutes. You should be able to go home the same day.

Your surgeon will make a small cut on the palm of your hand. They will cut the tight ligament (called the flexor retinaculum) that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel. This stops the nerve being compressed.

Make an enquiry

How soon will I recover?

Keep your hand raised and bandaged for two days. It is important to gently exercise your fingers, elbow and shoulder to prevent stiffness.

Your symptoms may continue to improve for up to six months.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

If your symptoms are mild, a wrist support worn at night often helps. A steroid injection near the carpal tunnel can reduce the numbness or pain in most people.

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Scarring

Specific complications

  • Numbness in your thumb, index and middle fingers
  • Tenderness of the scar
  • Aching in the wrist
  • Return of numbness and pain
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the hand (complex regional pain syndrome)

Information leaflet

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Download leaflet

Hand therapy at The Horder Centre

Horder Healthcare offers highly specialist treatments for upper limb conditions and injuries affecting the hand, wrist and elbow.

Find out more

Guide price for self pay patients

Carpal Tunnel Release

  Consultation Diagnostics Treatment Care after discharge
Hospital costs Included Included £1580 Included
Consultant costs £220 Included Included Included
Estimated total cost  £1800
Estimated length of stay  Day case
*The guide price is correct as of 2nd March 2017

What's included

The prices in the table above (the “Guide Prices”) show what most patients should expect to pay at each appointment and on admission to hospital. The Guide Prices you pay might be different depending on your medical history and the type of implant you choose or your Consultant advises is best for you. Your price quotation will be made clear to you before you proceed with any tests, consultations or treatment.

Acknowledgements
Prof Tim Davis ChM FRCS (Tr. & Orth.)
Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. 
Copyright © 2019 EIDO Healthcare Limited
The operation and treatment information on this webpage is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by the Horder Centre. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Outstanding services for all patients

Get referred to Horder Healthcare today

Horder Healthcare provides the highest quality services to NHS, privately insured and self pay patients, from initial consultation and diagnostic tests right through to surgical treatment and rehabilitation.

We are a charity

We reinvest our profit to benefit more people and help us achieve our aim of advancing health.