Carpal tunnel surgery preparation
Carpal tunnel surgery preparation isn’t difficult. But it is a bit complicated. So give preparation careful attention and your recovery will be easier. And importantly, you’ll improve your probability of the success.
Surgery is a life-altering choice. It can be a turning point for managing the pain, numbness or tingling of carpal tunnel syndrome. There’s a chance you won’t get the results you need or expect. But let’s think positive and hope for wonderful results!
Provide all information before carpal tunnel surgery
Successful carpal tunnel surgery preparation starts a couple weeks before the surgery. Your doctor and his or her staff will provide forms for you to fill out. Make sure you answer each question as best you can. They’re important so that the surgical team is not surprised about your medical history. It’s super important they know the medications you currently take. Be sure to include all prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, herbal supplements and vitamins. Also let the staff know about any allergies you have, particularly to any medicines.
Pre-operative tests and measures
Carpal tunnel surgery preparation is no different than any other operation. Your body is tested for many things before the procedure. You take these tests within 30 day of having the operation. You’ll likely need to have an EKG, chest and arm X-rays, and blood and urine tests. The surgeon may ask for additional tests based upon your particular health status.
The surgeon will also tell you which regular medicines to stop taking (and when) before the operation. Ask if you can take regular medicines on the evening of the surgery or the following morning. However, the night before surgery, you may not eat or drink (except water). It is not uncommon to cancel a surgery because a patient ate or drank within a few hours of the procedure. The risk of choking on stomach contents while under anesthesia is simply too great.
Aside from not eating or drinking before the surgery, the surgeon may advise you to stop smoking a few days before the surgery. (Why not quit – it’s a good time!) This has nothing to do with the operation, but it will help you heal much faster. It is well known that smoking delays the healing process. Therefore, the doctor may even encourage you to stop smoking altogether.
Finally, arrange for a way to get home. You won’t be able to drive for a couple weeks because you’ll not have any grip strength in your hand. That makes steering dangerous if not impossible. Therefore, arrange for family, friends or even a taxi to be at the surgical center around the time of discharge.
Ask questions about your carpal tunnel surgery preparation
Make list of any questions you have about carpal tunnel surgery and recovery time. Bring them to appointments and insure all of them have good answers. Your comfort is paramount, and nagging questions will only make you more nervous. Also, don’t be shy about asking whatever is on your mind. There are no dumb questions, especially when it comes to your health. Below are the more common questions patients ask:
Common questions about carpal tunnel surgery
- How should I take the pain medications?
- When can I re-start my usual medications?
- How long will the post-surgical pain last?
- What restrictions will I have after the operation?
- Can I return to my former job?
- In how many days will my stitches come out?
- When will my bandages come off?
- When can I return to my other hobbies and activities?
- What if my pain is too severe?
- What is the plan for rehabilitation of my hand?
- When will you follow-up with me?
- What happens if the surgery did nothing for my symptoms?
Here’s a list of carpal tunnel surgery doctor questions to ask.
Be aware that carpal tunnel surgery isn’t needed 97% of the time.
The Journal of Hand Surgery reports that the better you prepare, the faster you’ll regain thumb function.
Postoperative Follow-Up of Extreme Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: How Long Does It Take to Recover Thumb Opposition?