DANVILLE - Endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery now available at Geisinger Medical Center offers relief from pain and numbness, faster recovery and minimal scarring compared to the traditional, open surgical procedure for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects more than 8 million Americans, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It is the number one reported medical problem, and accounts for 50 percent of all work-related injuries.
Individuals who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome may be hesitant to seek surgical treatment due to the three-month recovery time needed if they undergo an open surgery, which also includes a three-inch incision from wrist to palm.
Now, an endoscopic outpatient surgical procedure requires only a one-month recuperation period, and a small, quarter-inch incision at the base of the wrist where the endoscope can be inserted.
"In carpal tunnel surgery, the transverse carpal ligament is cut, relieving pressure on the median nerve. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome dissipate over time, if not immediately," said Joel Klena, M.D., orthopedic specialist at GMC. "More and more patients are seeking out the endoscopic procedure since it offers a faster recuperation than the open surgery.
Other benefits of the endoscopic procedure include little to no scar sensitivity, no splinting and limited physical therapy as patients may partake in light activities immediately. Wound care also is minimal and patients may return to more strenuous activity in a much shorter time frame compared to traditional, open surgical procedures.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include a persistent loss of feeling and coordination, numbness, and pain in the fingers, thumb, and hand. If any of these symptoms restrict your normal daily activities, a nerve test may be ordered by your doctor to determine the severity of the damage. A diagnosis of nerve damage would require surgery to preserve functionality of the hand.
"Carpal tunnel syndrome is a gradual loss of sensation," said Dr. Klena. "If a person is experiencing symptoms than they should seek medical treatment promptly to avoid permanent nerve damage."