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What to Expect After Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

after carpal tunnel release surgery

What will happen to me right after carpal tunnel release surgery?

So you’ve probably decided on surgery after learning about carpal tunnel syndrome. The symptoms are so bad that surgery is your last hope for relief. You probably did all the homework to find out what happens during the actual operation.  But did you learn what will happen after carpal release tunnel surgery? That’s when the real work to restore your hand begins.

What will happen moments after carpal tunnel release surgery?

Once the doctor puts in the last stitch, a bandage goes over your hand. This is to keep the wound free of infection. Infection is one of the biggest complications of this surgery. So keeping the bandage clean and dry is an important part of life after carpal tunnel release surgery.

In the recovery room, you will either be wide awake or just waking up. That depends on if you had a local or general anesthesia. With a local anesthesia, your hand will not hurt because it is numb. With general anesthesia, you may feel some discomfort even though you were given a pain injection.

You stay in the recovery room until the doctor or nurse sees stable vital signs. They also check for any adverse reactions or complications. Once they determine you’re able to walk then you can go home. This generally happens after 1-2 hours after carpal tunnel release surgery.

While at home after carpal tunnel surgery

Your first day at home will be difficult. Your hand will start to “wake up” in a few hours. That’s when the pain starts. But you will have medication to help. Take the pills on schedule and follow the medication label.

You will almost certainly have a troubled sleep for the first few nights. But with the right pain medication, it won’t be too bad. Elevate your arm on pillows to help keep blood from pooling. Remove all things from the bedside that you may accidentally bang your hand into. Ripping stitches is very common. It will make recovery after carpal tunnel release surgery even more miserable.

Within 2-4 days the pain will decrease. You might even be able to get off the pain pills and take over-the-counter pills. When bathing, keep your hand away from water. You can cover it with a plastic bag and tape when showering.

Furthermore, try to wiggle your fingers as much as you can. Don’t over-do it! Some exercise will keep the fingers from freezing due to adhesions.

Some people who have endoscopic surgery can try going back to work now. But such is usually not advisable. However, if the workload is light and your hand can rest, working is possible. After open release surgery, you probably will have to wait 3-6 weeks to return to work.

carpal tunnel recovery

Removing the bandages after carpal tunnel release surgery

Finally, after about 10 days after carpal tunnel release surgery, the bandages come off. What a relief! In its place, you get one of several types of a carpal tunnel wrist braces. Wear the brace 24/7. After carpal tunnel surgery with endoscopy, you only need it at night. But after open release surgery, you may need it for 1-2 more months. Then it can come off during the day. But you must still wear it at night for another 1-2 months.

When the bandages come off you can begin hand therapy. This aims at restoring the hand’s strength and range of motion.

Aftercare and therapy after carpal tunnel release surgery

This period of time can last for months to a year. It aims to fully restore hand function. Sometimes this is a slow process. And it depends on several factors. These factors include the patient’s:

  • Age
  • Commitment to therapy
  • Particular healing speed
  • Smoking status


Right after carpal tunnel release surgery your life will be a little different. Upon discharge, you will go home and take special care of your surgical area. The most important aspect of aftercare will be to manage the pain, mostly for the first few days. The doctor will prescribe medicines to help.

cure carpal tunnel at home

Two 15 minute Carpal Rx treatments
for 30 days cures symptoms in
97% of carpal tunnel patients.

About 15 years ago my wife was suddenly awakened with horrible hand pain. She was suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.
I’m not exaggerating. She literally woke up screaming saying her hand was “being crushed”. The pain shot up through her wrist and into her shoulder. The poor girl still shudders at the thought.

Being a physiologist, I knew what it was immediately; carpal tunnel syndrome. And I knew how to treat it. I’m skilled in a physical therapy technique called myofascial release. It’s a type of massage with an excellent track record for completely curing carpal tunnel symptoms.

So I’d massage her wrist and arm until the pain subsided and we could both go back to sleep. But her pain was so severe that she insisted on wanting surgery. It was so bad that she was afraid to go sleep at night.

I was dead-set against surgery because I knew myofascial release was a much better option. I made a bargain with her. Give me 30 days to cure her symptoms using massage and if it didn’t work – I’d go along with the surgery.

She agreed and I got busy in the lab. With spare motors and wire, I banged together the very first Carpal Rx prototype. At first she was reluctant to stick her hand into my contraption. But using it before bed for 15 minutes, she was able to sleep through the night by the 2nd day. And that’s how the Carpal Rx was born!

Carpal Rx, born out of love and compassion.

Dr. Z invented Carpal Rx to cure his wife’s symptoms so she didn’t have to undergo surgery.

He invites your questions.

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Carpal Rx, born of love and compassion