What Type of Doctor Does Carpal Tunnel Surgery


What Type of Doctor Does Carpal Tunnel Surgery?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that affects the hand and wrist, causing pain, numbness, and tingling sensations. When conservative methods fail to alleviate the symptoms, carpal tunnel surgery may be recommended. But what type of doctor performs this procedure? Let’s explore the answer to this question and address some frequently asked questions about carpal tunnel surgery.

The primary specialist who performs carpal tunnel surgery is an orthopedic surgeon or a hand surgeon. These doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, including the hands, wrists, and forearms. Their expertise in this area makes them the most qualified professionals to handle carpal tunnel surgery.

Orthopedic surgeons are medical doctors who have completed specialized training in orthopedic surgery. They can further sub-specialize in hand surgery, which focuses on the treatment of hand and wrist conditions. Hand surgeons, on the other hand, are typically orthopedic surgeons who have pursued additional training in hand surgery.

Carpal tunnel surgery is a relatively straightforward procedure that involves relieving pressure on the median nerve, which runs through a narrow passageway in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. During the surgery, the surgeon makes a small incision in the palm or wrist, then cuts the transverse carpal ligament to release the pressure on the nerve. This procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia, with patients able to return home the same day.

Now, let’s address some frequently asked questions about carpal tunnel surgery:

1. How long does carpal tunnel surgery take?
The surgery itself usually takes around 15-30 minutes, but the total time spent in the hospital or surgical center may be longer.

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2. Is carpal tunnel surgery painful?
Local anesthesia is used during the surgery, so patients typically don’t experience pain. However, some discomfort may be felt during the recovery period.

3. How long is the recovery after carpal tunnel surgery?
Most people can resume light activities within a few days, but it may take several weeks to fully recover and regain strength.

4. Will I need to wear a cast after the surgery?
No, a cast is not typically needed. Instead, a bandage or a splint may be used to protect the surgical area.

5. When can I return to work after carpal tunnel surgery?
The timing depends on the nature of your job. If it involves heavy manual labor, you may need to take several weeks off. For desk jobs, you may be able to return within a week or two.

6. Are there any potential risks or complications associated with carpal tunnel surgery?
As with any surgery, there are risks involved, including infection, nerve damage, and scar tissue formation. However, these complications are rare.

7. Will carpal tunnel surgery completely cure my symptoms?
In most cases, carpal tunnel surgery provides significant relief from symptoms. However, some residual symptoms may persist in a small number of patients.

8. Can carpal tunnel syndrome recur after surgery?
While the chances of recurrence are low, it is possible for carpal tunnel syndrome to return, especially if the underlying causes are not addressed.

9. Are there alternative treatments to surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome?
Yes, non-surgical treatments such as wrist splinting, steroid injections, and physical therapy may provide relief for some patients. However, surgery is often the best option for long-term relief.

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10. How can I prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from recurring after surgery?
Maintaining good hand and wrist posture, taking regular breaks during repetitive activities, and following ergonomic principles can help prevent recurrence.

11. Is carpal tunnel surgery covered by insurance?
Most health insurance plans cover carpal tunnel surgery, especially if it is deemed medically necessary. However, it’s always best to check with your specific insurance provider to confirm coverage.

In conclusion, carpal tunnel surgery is typically performed by orthopedic surgeons or hand surgeons. These specialists have the necessary expertise to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the hands and wrists. If conservative treatments fail to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, surgery may be recommended as an effective solution.