Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Do You Need Hand Surgery?
Hand surgery is a common treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, but it is usually the last of several recommended treatment options for otherwise healthy patients.
Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness, tingling or burning of the fingers and thumb.
Typically, the thumb and first three fingers are the most affected by the compression of the median nerve. Many times, your doctor will first recommend some type of therapy or therapeutic brace to alleviate symptoms. If initial treatment or therapy is ineffective, then hand surgery is usually recommended.
Hand surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome is a delicate procedure performed under general anesthesia. Since therapy and rest often alleviate symptoms for a time, surgery is considered a last resort to solving this problem. It can take several weeks or months to come to a conclusive diagnosis, and sometimes it can take years before you need to have the surgery done. Obviously, in acute cases a diagnosis and recommendation for surgery would occur more quickly.
If you are experiencing symptoms that you believe may be carpal tunnel syndrome, it is best to see your primary physician first. He can evaluate your overall general health and recommend a specialist, should you need one. Be patient, as it may take some time to get an appointment with a specialist. Most people agree, however, that the wait is typically worth it when it comes to your health.
When you meet with the specialist, he will ask lots of questions about your health history and work history. Identifying your lifestyle patterns will be helpful to him in coming to an accurate diagnosis. It is imperative that you follow all recommended treatments, as these should alleviate symptoms and provide you with a measure of relief.
You may find it helpful to take a list of your own questions to the specialist. Feel free to ask about treatment options you have heard about, limitations and prognosis. Generally, the specialist should be able to give you some idea as to what you are up against when it comes to this debilitating diagnosis.
Being diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome does not always mean hand surgery. However, if you do need a surgical procedure to find relief, it will behoove you to prepare your mind and body before the procedure. Work to be as healthy as you can as this will help speed your overall recovery. Also, preparing yourself mentally will help avoid frustration and discouragement during the healing process.
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