Facebook Pixel

What to Expect from Carpal Tunnel Release

Prior to Surgery

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), Clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.
  • Let your doctor know if you have a cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout or other illness prior to surgery. This may require that your reschedule your procedure.
  • Do not smoke. This will help you to recover quicker.

On the Day of the Surgery

  • This procedure is normally done under local anesthesia. Your surgeon may recommend that you not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night before the surgery. In some cases, you may be able to have a light breakfast prior to surgery.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After Surgery

  • You will have a dressing over your surgical site for the next few days. You will need to keep if dry and avoid showering until bandage is removed.
  • Most patients can go home the same day.
  • You can expect some pain for at least a week after surgery. Your physician will advise which medications will help ease the discomfort. Ice packs and elevation of the hand will also be beneficial in your recovery.
  • You will be able to return to light duties – such as driving and light lifting – a few days after surgery.
  • Most patients feel much better within the first week, but it takes many months up to a year for a full recovery.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

  • You may experience some soreness in your palm for several months, along with weakness and decreased grip.
  • To help you regain mobility in your wrist and hand, your doctor will arrange for appointments with a hand therapist.
  • Your physician can recommend other activities to help as you recover.

Carpal Tunnel Release Q&A

What does carpel tunnel arthroscopy involve?

Using the guidance of an arthroscope, the orthopaedic surgeon makes a small incision in the palm of the affected hand. An instrument is inserted and cuts the transverse carpel ligament, which frees up more room for the nerve and tendons. The area is stitched and over time, new growth heals the ligament while preserving the space.

How many incisions are made?

One small incision is made in the lower palm.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

Patients will normally be released the same day of surgery. Most patients will be undergo therapy with a hand therapist to help with recovery and mobility.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients will feel better within a week. Full recovery can take several months and up to a year. Your doctor can advise you on what activities will help you regain your strength.