Carpal tunnel syndrome is the result of the compression of the median nerve in the wrist. Inflammation of the carpal tunnel, consisting of the carpal ligament and bone, causes this compression, and can be alleviated with carpal tunnel surgery. Each of the three types of carpal tunnel surgery--endoscopic, open release, and mini open release--has different recovery times due to the difference in the procedures.
Traditional Open Release
Open release surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome requires a 2-inch-long incision in the hand and wrist. The surgeon can clearly see the carpal ligament through the incision in order to sever it. Severing the carpal ligament releases the median nerve and eliminates the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. The size of the incision can cause complications and a longer recovery time.
Mini Open Release
Mini open release carpal tunnel surgery offers the clear open view of the carpal ligament provided by traditional open release surgery, but without the large incision. Mini open release surgery requires only a 1-inch incision that is carefully targeted to ensure that the surgeon has an unobstructed view of the carpal ligament, in order to facilitate the release of the median nerve. Mini open release surgery offers a faster recovery time than open release surgery, due to the smaller incision size.
Endoscopic surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is conducted with the use of a camera and a tiny knife. Two small incisions in the wrist provide access to two lighted tubes, through which a tiny camera and knife are threaded. The camera projects images of the interior of the wrist onto a monitor for the surgeon, who uses the images to guide the knife and sever the carpal ligament. Patients who have endoscopic surgery to address their carpal tunnel syndrome typically have minimal scarring and a faster recovery in comparison to open release and mini open release surgery.
General Time Frame
Carpal tunnel surgery is an outpatient procedure, performed under local anaesthesia. Immediate recovery from symptoms can be experienced after carpal tunnel surgery, but full recovery from the surgery can take months. It is necessary to avoid strenuous activity during the recovery period in order to avoid prolonging the recovery time.