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Welcome to my blog on
hand pain & carpal tunnel
Carpal Tunnel Surgery Pros & Cons
If you’re thinking about having carpal tunnel surgery, surely you’re weighing all the carpal tunnel surgery pros & cons you can find. Great – make a list! This is a big decision that WILL undoubtedly affect your life, whatever the outcome.
Why there are carpal tunnel surgery pros & cons
If carpal tunnel surgery was cheap, completely safe, painless, and worked 100% of the time then there would be no thinking about it. But unfortunately it’s none of those.
Below I’ve listed the top pros and cons for having this operation. Keep in mind that the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (who regulate this surgery) tell ALL surgeons to try every non-surgical option first. Why? Because non-surgical remedies are almost always successful in relieving carpal tunnel symptoms. If your doctor doesn’t follow that protocol, then find another carpal tunnel doctor!
Carpal tunnel release surgery is performed using either the “open” or “endoscopic” technique. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. I have reviewed the pros and cons of endoscopic surgery before. So for this discussion, I’m grouping both surgical techniques together.
The success rate of carpal tunnel surgery is defined by patient satisfaction. About half of patients are satisfied with their outcome 2 years later. Of course, this isn’t a resounding “pro” for surgery. However, in the most severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s often the last resort.
If you have reasonable health insurance, at least 80% of this surgery will be covered. Also, about 80% of your rehabilitation expenses will also be covered. However, if complications occur, they may or may not be covered.
About half of patients are not satisfied with their outcome 2 years later. That means they might be a little better off than before. Or else, they need to consider having another surgery.
The cost of this surgery varies greatly. But without insurance, it ranges between $5,000 and $8,000. Hand rehabilitation can cost from $12,000 to $24,000.
Risks and dangers
The most common risk is reaction to the anesthesia. But that can happen with any surgery. However, there is a risk of nerve or blood vessel injury. Also, the surgery can result in internal scarring and adhesions. That means having poor hand mobility. In addition, infection is a possibility. It can happen at the site of surgery or systemically. Finally, prolonged pain is one of the most common complications of this operation.
Chances of failure
Four possible outcomes can result from having carpal tunnel surgery.
- Total success that lasts forever.
- Initial success but symptoms return within a few weeks.
- Symptoms never go away.
- Symptoms are worse than before surgery.
Rehabilitation and recovery
Everyone who has this operation must have hand rehab during their recovery from carpal tunnel surgery. Thus, it’s important to put rehab and recovery on your carpal tunnel surgery pros & cons comparison chart. Assuming the surgery goes well, you need 2-12 months to restore you hand’s function. However, if all does not go well, you may not regain full hand function. Also, your recovery period (and expenses) will be greater.
Often overlooked carpal tunnel surgery pros & cons: Lost job time!
Approximately one quarter of carpal tunnel surgery patients are able to return to their former occupation. The remainder must change jobs or job functions. Unfortunately, most people who consider surgery overlook this important statistic.
In general, you can return to work as soon as 2 weeks or as long as 12 months after surgery. Of course, this time frame depends on several factors. The most important are:
- If surgery was on your dominant hand.
- What kind of work you do with your hands.
- Whether complications (such as infection) arise.
There are many carpal tunnel surgery pros & cons to consider before you have this operation. Success rate, risks and dangers, cost, and rehabilitation time are just some topics to discuss with your doctor.
Two 15 minute Carpal Rx treatments
for 30 days cures symptoms in
97% of carpal tunnel patients.
About 15 years ago my wife was waking up during the wee hours screaming from carpal tunnel pain.
This isn’t an exaggerating. She’d literally scream from the pain shooting up through her wrist and into her shoulder. The poor thing still shudders when she thinks about it.
I knew she had carpal tunnel syndrome. And being a physiologist, I knew how to treat her. 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 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. I hodgepodged together the first Carpal Rx prototype. Using it before bed for 15 minutes, she was able to sleep through the night by the 2nd day.
Carpal Rx, born out of love & compassion.
Dr. Z invented Carpal Rx to cure his wife’s symptoms so she didn’t have to undergo surgery.