What are the risks of Carpal Tunnel Release surgery also called Carpal Tunnel Decompession surgery ?

The risk and complication rates of Carpal Tunnel Release surgery are very low. Major problems such as nerve damage happen in fewer than 1 out of 100 surgeries (less than 1%). But there is a small risk that the median nerve or other tissues may be damaged during surgery.

Local anesthesia may rarely pose risks for some people. Other potential risks of a carpal tunnel release surgery include:

1. Bleeding

2. Infection

3. Injury to the median nerve or nerves that branch out from it

4. Injury to nearby blood vessels

5. Pain and discomfort along the cut on your hand

6. Stiffness in your hand

7. Swelling – keeping your hand elevated should help to reduce this

8. A noticeable scar that will gradually fades

9. Scar feeling tender after the operation – this usually settles down within a few months.

10. Having a weaker grip than you had before surgery – this should return to normal as your hand heals.

The recovery from carpal tunnel surgery takes time – anywhere from several weeks to several months. If the nerve has been damaged from being significantly compressed for a long period of time, recovery may take even longer and upto 12 months.


Outlined below are complications that are more specific to Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery.

1. A tender and sensitive scar. Your scar may be tender and sensitive for a while after surgery. This is a minor complication and you may find that this sensitivity doesn’t interfere with your day-to-day activities, but for some people, it does.

2. Damage to nerves in your wrist. This may cause pain and numbness, which should eventually disappear but will take time.

3. Pain when putting pressure on your hand. This is called pillar pain, and may be caused by a tender, raised scar and swelling at the base of your palm. The pain may affect your grip, but should ease after three to four months.

4. Bow-stringing. You may notice that when you flex your wrist after the surgery, your tendons are more visible. This may cause some pain, a snapping sensation when you flex your wrist or pins and needles.

5. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). This rare condition can cause many symptoms, including swelling, burning pain, sensitivity to touch and changes in skin temperature and colour. Your movement may become more limited. CRPS is usually triggered by surgery or accidental damage and can usually be managed with painkillers and other medicines, as well as physiotherapy and counselling.

6. Reccurrence. Most people find their symptoms disappear gradually after surgery, but there’s a chance that your symptoms may continue or come back. If this happens, you may need to have revision surgery.

Risks of Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery 1
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