What To Expect After Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

After surgery, the hand is wrapped in an elastic dressing. The stitches are planned to be removed 10 to 14 days after surgery. The pain and numbness may go away right after surgery or may take several months (up to 12 months) to subside, depending on the degree of median nerve damage from prolonged compression in the carpal tunnel. Try to avoid heavy use of your hand for up to 3 months.

The timing of your return to work depends on whether the surgery was on your dominant hand (the hand you use most), and your work activities.

After surgery on your dominant hand and with repeated actions at work, a patient may be able to return to work in 6 to 8 weeks. Repeated motions include typing or assembly-line work. If the surgery was on the non dominant  hand and patient does not perform repeated actions at work, the patient may be able to return to work in 7 to 14 days after surgery.

What to expect afterwards

1. After a local anaesthetic, it may take several hours before the feeling comes back into your wrist and hand. Take special care not to bump or knock your hand, and be extra careful around anything hot such as kettles or radiators. You may feel tingling in your hand as the anaesthetic wears off and the feeling in your wrist and hand returns.

2. Carpal Tunnel Release surgery isn’t usually painful. But you may need pain relief medicines to ease any pain or discomfort.

3. Your bandage will protect and support your hand, but you will still be able to wriggle your fingers. Keeping your arm elevated will help to reduce any swelling. Wriggle your fingers regularly to keep your blood flowing properly, and to reduce any stiffness.

4. Before you go home, you will be adviced about caring for your healing wound. It’s important to keep your bandage dry after your operation. This means wearing a rubber glove or plastic bag when you have a shower.

5. You will usually be able to leave the clinic when you feel ready. Before you leave, you may be given a date for a follow-up appointment for removal of stitches. 

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