Carpal Tunnel Release

Carpal Tunnel Release

Carpal Tunnel Release


Carpal tunnel release is a surgical procedure performed to alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). CTS is a condition characterised by compression or irritation of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This compression can lead to pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and fingers.

Carpal tunnel release can be performed under local anaesthesia with sedation or general anaesthesia, depending on your preference and Dr Moar’s recommendation, and the complexity of the case.


Carpal tunnel release is typically recommended when conservative treatments, such as wrist splinting, medications, and physical therapy, have not provided sufficient relief from CTS symptoms. It may also be considered in cases of severe or progressive symptoms, or if there is a risk of nerve damage.

Preoperative Instructions

Ensure that someone is with you to assist you in travelling home. This surgery is performed under anaesthetic, and it is unsafe to drive afterwards.

Discuss all medications with your doctor prior to the surgery and cease or continue medications as directed.


For open carpal tunnel release, Dr Moar makes a small incision in the palm of the hand or wrist, allowing direct access to the carpal tunnel. The transverse carpal ligament, which forms the roof of the carpal tunnel, is divided to release pressure on the median nerve. The incision is then closed with sutures.

Postoperative Instructions

Following carpal tunnel release, you may experience some pain, swelling, and stiffness in the wrist and hand. Pain medication may be prescribed to manage discomfort. Patients are typically advised to elevate their hand, apply ice packs, and perform gentle exercises to promote healing and regain strength and flexibility.

The use of a splint or brace may be recommended to immobilise the wrist initially and protect the surgical site. You will likely be able to resume light activities within a few days and return to normal activities within several weeks.


As with any surgery, carpal tunnel release carries potential risks and complications, although they are relatively rare. These may include infection, bleeding, nerve or blood vessel damage, scar formation, wrist weakness, and recurrence of symptoms.

Treatment Alternatives

Other treatments include movement therapy, splinting or bracing, medications, exercise, and modified activities. Other surgical approaches include endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery.

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