Frequently Asked Questions

1Will carpal tunnel syndrome get better on its own and just go away?
Occasionally it will. “I usually tell my patients that CTS tends to do one of two things, stay the same or get worse. We can usually make it temporarily better with conservative treatment, although the symptoms do tend to return in most people. Some patients may have mild CTS symptoms for years however, without significant progression, and others may progress on to moderate or severe CTS relatively rapidly.” – Dr. David Eisenhauer
2Will carpal tunnel syndrome return after surgery?
Very Unlikely. There is a 5-7% chance that the symptoms return after surgery, sometimes within months’ other times years later. Typically, recurrent carpal tunnel syndrome is due to scarring or swelling of the local tissues from surgery, or reconstitution of the transverse carpal ligament (the tissue that is “released” with a carpal tunnel release surgery).
3Will I get all the feeling back after carpal tunnel release surgery?
It depends on how sever your CTS was and how long-standing the symptoms were. The more sever the carpal tunnel syndrome is, and the longer patients have had constant numbness, the less likely they are to get feeling back in the hand, or they may only get partial feeling back. In these patients, unfortunately, a degree of permanent nerve damage had already occurred prior to surgery. However, long-standing, constant numbness should not always be a contraindication to surgery, as the surgery can be very helpful in relieving pain associated with CTS and can still be prophylactic; that is, it may keep the small thumb muscles from getting weaker, thus helping with pinch strength.
4Does the nighttime “nerve pain” go away after carpal tunnel surgery?
Yes, almost immediately! Although it may take days to weeks, or sometimes even months to get as much feeling back a you are going to get, the pain component of CTS is typically resolved almost immediately after surgery.
5Is carpal tunnel release surgery safe?
Yes. Carpal tunnel release surgery is a very small and safe surgical procedure, when preformed correctly. As with any surgical procedure there are risks, however. These risks are quite minimal but include: injury to neurovascular structures, including the median nerve, infection, wound hypersensitivity, incomplete resolution of symptoms and recurrent carpal tunnel syndrome.
6Does “wide awake” surgery put me at higher risk of infection or other complications?
No. All surgical protocols are followed just the same as if you were having surgery under conscious sedation or general anesthesia. Your surgery is preformed in a sterile operating room setting, not an office-based “operative suite”.
7Do I have to have to register as a patient on MoonlightOrtho.com prior to my Carpal Tunnel Concierge surgery?
Yes. We do not have the ability to store your medical records/operative report on our CarpalTunnelConcierge.com website. Therefore, we require a Carpal Tunnel Concierge visit via MoonlightOrtho, which is offered to our patients at a discounted rate vs. a typical New Patient visit on www.MoonlightOrtho.com, an Orthopeidc –specific telemedicine practice.
8Can I have anesthesia during my Carpal Tunnel Concierge procedure?
No. Although the surgery is preformed in a surgery center, the arrangement we have made with the center is to preform all surgeries under “local only” anesthesia, therefore an anesthesiologist will not even be present for the surgery.
9Do I need sedation or general anesthesia for my carpal tunnel surgery?
Our surgeons are all very facile with “wide awake surgery” and all have significant experience with such procedures. By and large, patients tolerate “local only” anesthesia very well. Some patients, those with very nervous personality types, may be better served with having their procedure preformed under sedation or anesthesia, however.
10Will I feel pain during my procedure?
No. Although patients are wide awake during their carpal tunnel release surgery, the hand is completely numb. Lidocaine is placed, using a very small needle (27 gauge) at the planned surgical incision site well before the patient is taken to the operating room. Patients may feel their surgeon prepping the had, irrigating the incision site or putting the dressings on, and occasionally they may feel a “tug” during surgery, but this should be a completely pain-free surgical experience for our patients.
11Will I have pain after the procedure?
Yes, some. Once the local anesthesia starts to wear off patients will experience some incisional pain. This is subjective for patients; some are bothered by it more than others. Some patients take a narcotic pain medication for a few days after carpal tunnel surgery and others do not. A prescription will be provided upon discharge from the surgery center.
12What can I do immediately after surgery?
Although we preform minimally invasive carpal tunnel surgery, and this is a small, quick procedure, after any surgical procedure we recommend ice and elevation of the extremity for the 4-5 days following surgery. We can arrange for a sling if desired, which can help keep your hand elevated while you are on vacation, exploring the beautiful Lake Tahoe region!
13Will my wrist or hand be in a splint after surgery?
No, just a small dressing that allows free mobility of the fingers and wrist. Studies have shown that a splint is not beneficial after CTR surgery.
14Am I given a prescription after my carpal tunnel surgery?
Yes. All our patients receive a prescription for a light narcotic pain medication (Norco or equivalent typically). We also recommend a course of 500 mg Vitamin C for 30 days following surgery, as well as an over-the-counter NSAID, if there are no contraindications.
15How long do I have to leave my dressing on after surgery?
We recommend a minimum of 5 days, so yes, that means a bag over your hand when you shower! At 5 days the skin is generally waterproof and can get wet. There is a higher chance of infection and wound problems if it gets wet sooner than that.
16How long does it take to recover from carpal tunnel surgery?
We tell our patients to “take it easy” for 4 weeks after carpal tunnel release surgery. That is, try not to life more than a coffee cup or plate of food, with the operative hand, for 1 month following surgery. Writing and typing are fine within a few days of surgery, but no heavy physical or manual labor are permitted.
17Can I drive after carpal tunnel release surgery?
Well…maybe. Again, as stated above, we recommend ice and elevation for 4-5 days following surgery, and “taking it easy” with no heavy lifting, gripping or grasping for 4 weeks following surgery. So, use discretion and your best judgment if/when you return to driving.
18Can I get a work note after my Carpal Tunnel Concierge surgery?
Yes, just ask, we are happy to provider you with any type of note or release that you may require.
19Who takes out the stiches when I return home from my Carpal Tunnel Concierge vacation?
Yes, just ask, we are happy to provider you with any type of note or release that you may require.
20Who takes out the stiches when I return home from my Carpal Tunnel Concierge vacation?
Any local provider or nurse can do it, however, we routinely recommend followp with your local Orthopedic Surgeon within 10-14 days. This is typical for a wound check, suture removal and guidance moving forward.
21Can I see my Carpal Tunnel Concierge Provider on MoonlightOrtho post-operatively?
Yes. It is an option to have your stiches taken out and a wound check preformed locally, then follow up with your Hand Surgeon for a telemedicine Post-Operative check via MoonlightOrtho.com.